CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Courtney Lee has navigated through 11 NBA seasons, which didn’t quite prepare him for his one-game trip to the G League.
Lee joined the Westchester Knicks for Tuesday’s game in Lakeland, Florida, with the intention of creating a preseason for himself after a neck injury held him out of the season’s first 24 games. He not only got a chance to get his wind and timing in order but got an appreciation for the work being put forth in the NBA’s developmental league.
“It was definitely a different experience,” said Lee, who suggested the move. “I’m glad I did experience it. It was my first time going to the G League in my career. I got a chance to compete with those guys and see how life is on the road with them. It’s a little bit different.”
He pointed to the competitiveness and quality of play, noting: “People who think it’s a walk in the park down there, it’s definitely not. They compete at a high level. These guys are playing for an opportunity to get called up to a team.”
Lee also noticed the lifestyle that players go through to get to the NBA.
“We’re kind of spoiled,” he said. “We’re used to staying in the Four Seasons and Ritz. They stay at Holiday Inns and stuff like that. They fly commercial. We have our own charter plane. Before games, we have a spread out where you have breakfast, brunch [and] meals before you leave. When you get there, they have healthy snacks before the game and afterwards. Theirs, we had jars of peanut butter and jelly you can make on your own. Some bananas and oranges. That’s pretty much it.
“At this level, you got a whole complete training staff in there to stretch you, put you through recovery stuff and activation stuff. It’s pretty much two guys down there doing it. Yeah, it was different.”
Lee shot 7-for-21 in 31 minutes, including 1-for-9 from three-point range.
He said he would consider another trip down to the G League to continue working his way into shape. “You also look at it as it’s not a bad thing to go to the G League if you’ve been injured like myself,” he said. “You try to find your rhythm and get reps and minutes. It’s not a bad thing to go down there and utilize that league. That’s what it’s for. I enjoyed the experience. It was one I think every player should experience.”