Lee Scores 16 In Skyforce Debut
Timberwolves guard Malcolm Lee scored 16 points and added six assists on Tuesday night playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the D-League.
Lee, the 43rd overall pick in last summer’s NBA draft who was traded to the Wolves on June 23, underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee on Dec. 30. He reported to the Skyforce on Monday and is expected to get significant minutes with Sioux Falls during a stretch of home games this week.
Lee played 23:47 during a 112-103 loss to the Dakota Wizards at the Sioux Falls Arena, and individually he did not disappoint in his first action back. He shot 7-of-15 from the field and hit both of his free-throw attempts while primarily playing the point guard position. He said he played off the ball for a couple possessions.
Lee said it took some time to get adjusted to playing after taking so much time off to recover.
“Just the rhythm; it felt like I was kind of out of shape, but it got better as the game started going,” Lee said.
Coming off an injury that left him limited in performing conditioning drills, Lee said he began doing treadmill work about a week and a half ago. He said the transition from his workouts to game speed wasn’t easy to simulate. Instead, Lee said he took advantage of his off time through weight training.
“Any athlete will tell you it’s not the same for some reason as far as running on the treadmill versus the translation to playing during the game,” Lee said. “You’re going to get you best shape, you’re going to get it conditioning-wise (in the game). It’s definitely a big difference from what I was doing.”
Lee saw significant time in the Timberwolves’ final preseason game in December, scoring nine points and adding five assists and four rebounds in an 85-84 win over the Bucks in Milwaukee. He played 24 minutes in that game and shot 3-of-6 from the field.
Members of the Wolves expressed their excitement about Lee’s athleticism leading into the regular season. Forward Kevin Love, who hosted Lee while on a recruiting trip to UCLA in 2007-08, said he saw Lee’s potential as an NBA player even coming out of high school.
Love said Lee continued to improve and impress as preseason camp went on.
“He definitely looks like he belongs,” Love said in December. “I don’t know if I could say that the first few days he was here, but like I said leaps and bounds from where he’s come from. He looks good—he looks really good.”
But a torn meniscus sidelined Lee, holding him out of games for six weeks. During his last week with the Wolves before heading to Sioux Falls, Lee began showing his ability to drive and move laterally during one-on-one games with Derrick Williams.
Lee said those games with Williams helped reassure him his knee was ready for game play.
“That’s why I was playing the one-on-ones, just to be sure of myself and to get that confidence on the drive,” Lee said. “I was just trying to get my confidence and my awareness and stuff like that. I felt like that was a help.”
The Skyforce play two more home games this weekend, hosting Idaho on Friday and Canton on Saturday.
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