Damion Lee has been a prolific scorer since stepping foot on a college campus at Drexel all the way back in 2011, averaging 12 points per game as a freshman, and upping that to 22 points per game as a redshirt junior.
But as with all small-school scorers, there were question marks about how that might translate to the highest levels of college basketball. That was something we were able to get a much better read on once Lee elected to spend his fifth and final season at Louisville as a graduate transfer.
Unfortunately Lee's career ended prematurely at the end of the ACC regular season when his school elected to self-impose a postseason ban due to accusations that a former assistant coach paid prostitutes to entertain potential recruits.
That still left us with a decent sample size to evaluate him off, with 17 ACC games and two non-conference games against the likes of Kentucky and Michigan State. Lee's effectiveness in these games predictably dropped off, as he was able to score just 16.8 points per-40 minutes, while shooting 47% from 2-point territory and 31% for 3.
Lee has adequate height and length for a NBA shooting guard, standing 6'6 with a solid wingspan. He does not possess a great frame (although he's improved since arriving at Louisville, particularly in the upper body) and is just an average athlete by NBA standards.
Lee's biggest calling card as a prospect revolves around his ability to make shots from the perimeter in a variety of ways. He has been a prolific shooter his entire career, making 255 3-pointers in 124 college games, hitting a solid 36% of his attempts and 84% of his free throws. He has deep range on his jumper, often knocking down shots from well beyond the NBA arc, while also being capable of coming off screens, shooting off dribble-handoffs and pulling up off the dribble.
He's been fairly streaky throughout his career, more-so due to shot-selection than because of his actual shooting prowess, but is fairly easy to project as being a capable floor spacer who can do a little bit more than just make shots with his feet set due to his outstanding scoring instincts and overall aggressiveness.
As a shot-creator, Lee is somewhat of a mixed bag, as he does not possess a great first step, is not particularly strong or explosive around the basket, and is just an average ball-handler when forced to operate in tight spaces in the half-court. He drives left almost exclusively, and has struggled finishing inside the paint against top-level competition (35/75 [47%] vs BCS opponents this seasons), often being forced to settle for difficult runners and floaters due to his average frame and inability to turn the corner.
Lee has struggled in particular to make pull-up jumpers at a high rate this season, converting just 24% of his attempts vs BCS competition this season. His low release point makes it easier for opponents to contest his shot effectively.
With that said, things might get a little easier for Lee with the superior spacing and teammates he'll enjoy at the NBA level, as he won't be asked to be a focal point offensively for a team the way he was for Louisville this season. He already has NBA range on his shot, has proven to be capable of attacking defenses in a straight line, and very rarely turns the ball over, showing an above average feel for the game.
Defensively, Lee puts a solid effort in and likely benefited from the year he spent at Louisville under a very demanding coach in Rick Pitino. He shows good instincts getting in the passing lanes, but is susceptible to getting lost off the ball and losing his focus at times. He has adequate tools to guard most wings at the NBA level and looks fairly competitive, even if he doesn't project as a multi-positional defender and may struggle to guard quicker or stronger players on some nights.
In a league that is increasingly looking for wing players to space the floor and play a role, Lee is a solid candidate to get drafted, make a NBA team and potentially stick if he's able to adapt quickly enough to the pro game. His scoring instincts and aggressiveness will serve him well, even if he may not have the upside of some of the other shooting guards in this draft, as he'll turn 24 before his first NBA game. If he were an international prospect, he would have been draft-eligible in 2014 already as a 1992-born player, so he may struggle to generate much first round buzz, but will likely be a solid value pick somewhere in the second round.
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