MADRID (AP) — Forward David Lee has played only one game since joining the Boston Celtics and is already seeing some positive similarities with his former team, the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
The two-time All-Star reckons the Celtics have what it takes to surprise people this season despite being a young team and lacking a standout figure like Stephen Curry.
“It’s a similar make-up as far as the team, with great chemistry, we have an unbelievable chemistry,” Lee said in Madrid on Wednesday, a day before Boston’s final game of a preseason double-header in Europe.
“Guys on the team get along well. There’s not the superstar like Stephen Curry on this team but we do have a lot of depth and I think we are going to be a team that it’s going to turn some heads this year.”
The 32-year-old forward said he also sees plenty in common between the Celtics’ Brad Stevens and former coach Steve Kerr.
“I’m just getting to know coach Stevens but he is a very smart coach, teaches the game very well,” Lee said. “We have such a young team, it’s very important to have a guy that can really teach the younger players how the game is supposed to be played and he is similar to Steve Kerr of all the coaches that I’ve had, that really knows the game and has great enthusiasm toward the game.”
The Celtics, which finished under .500 last season, beat Italy’s Olimpia Milano 124-91 in Milan on Tuesday in its first game of the NBA Global Games tour.
Boston finished with a 40-42 regular season record last season and was swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
“I’m excited about what we have ahead of us and this preseason is very important for us to come together and that’s why games like tomorrow’s game (Thursday) is important for us to keep making strides,” Lee said.
A 32-time Spanish champion, Real Madrid is likely to pose a greater challenge than Olimpia Milano did on Tuesday.
“Real Madrid is a very quality team, so the goal is to come out and play even better than we played the last game and continue to build on what we did last night,” Lee said. “We know they are an experienced team that plays well together. We just have to come out and play our style. At this point of the season it’s more about us working on what we need to work on versus who we are actually playing.”
Lee scored 13 points and had seven rebounds and three assists against Olimpia Milano. A 2005 first-round pick who came to Boston in a trade for Gerald Wallace and Chris Babb, Lee was an All-Star in 2010 with New York and 2013 with Golden State.
Boston continues its preseason in the United States on Oct. 14 at the Brooklyn Nets. Its regular season debut is at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 28.
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