I agree that Steimsma is a poor post defender. Pietrus however was nowhere near a lockdown defender last year, or this year, or the year before. He's a shadow of his former self since his knee issues, and struggled a lot on defense last year. If he was anywhere near being the lockdown defender you suggest, we would have re-signed him. Instead he sat out half the season without a contract and then signed for the vet min to be a 3rd string player on the T-wolves. If he was such a great defender plenty of contenders would have been knocking down the door trying to sign him.
Pietrus was no Avery Bradley or Tony Allen defensively, don't get me wrong. He wasn't an elite perimeter defender, he was however a very good one. He frequently took on the task of defending the opposing teams best SG/SF (including Lebron, Carmello, etc) when he was on the court, and as a general rule he did a very good job.
The thing with Pietrus is that he straight out played hard. He didn't always play well, but he put 150% effort every night. Another important factor is that he had a very good combination of size, strength and agility. He was quick enough to defend PGs and SGs, yet he was big and strong enough to defend SFs and even smaller PFs at a squeeze. He used his quickness to stay in front of guys and he used his strength to muscle them off their spots, and he was very effective at forcing people into tough or uncomfortable shots.
The reason we didn't re-sign him are:
1. He's a limited offensive player (really just a spot up shooter, and a streaky one at that)
2. He has been injury prone over the last few seasons
Doc knew we needed to get younger and more athletic. He knew he'd need much of our cap space to bring back KG, Bass and Green. After this he felt our next most important need was a legitimate 6th man (hence, Terry). By that point in time we could only afford vet minimum contracts, and Pietrus had declared he'd rather play overseas then sign for the Vet min.
The Celtics recognised a need to replace that perimeter defense, and they thought Lee would be that guy. The problem is that while Lee does have the quickness, he's not strong enough of physical enough to really hassle people the way Pietrus did. He's not the type to take charges, bump & grind and put his body on the line - he's a softer and more "finesse" type of player. When he defends he does a fairly good job of staying in front of his man with his lateral quickness, but he rarely every gets physical enough with them to force them into giving up the ball or taking a bad shot. The eye test suggests he's playing decent D, but at the end of the day his defensive assignment still manages to score. Lee's lack of strength and size means he is totally incapable of defending the bigger, stronger SFs (the Carmellos and Lebrons) in the league, let alone PFs.
Likewise Pietrus was a better team defender - Lee has not been very good at recovering on mismatches or closing out on shooters on defensive rotations. He plays OK man-to-man defense, but when there is a switch he closes out too slow and opponents tend to get wide open shots. Pietrus used to hustle and close out very well in these situations and gave up nowhere near as many baskets due to late rotations.
To be brutally honest when it comes to defense I would take either Pavlovic or Marquis over Lee. Both played better defense and were more versatile in their ability to guard multiple positions. Lee is just a dramatically overrated defender.
On the plus side Lee has the potential to be a MUCH better offensive player then either Pietrus, Marquis or Pavlovic. He's quick off the dribble, he's got a nice midrange jumper, he's lightning on the fast break and he has historically been a very good three point shooter.
Unfortunately for us I think the defensive loss has hurt us more than the offensive gain has helped.
Essentially I would say that Lee is a slightly above average on-ball defender and a below average team defender. Overall I'd say that ballances out to him being about average on defense which is fine for the second unit (he's very capable against opposing second string players) but barely adequate against starting lineups.
If the return of Bradley allows Lee to join Terry on the bench, then I think that role will suit him much better. I think he'll be a matchup problem for opposing teams on both sides of the floor when he's coming off the bench.
even if you think steamer is a poor post defender...he is still a better post defender than anyone but kg...not even close...that is an indictment of this yr's players...
Debatable. There have been times where both Sullinger and Bass have played better man-to-man low post defense then I ever say from Stiemsma. Several times I've seen both players do a very good job of bodying up and using their strength to force offensive players into difficult shots.
Unfortuantely neither Bass (low defensive IQ) or Sullinger (lack of agility) have been very good at team defense because they just don't do a good job of rotating to cover for weaknesses. Likewise the pure lack of size means that some bigger players (like Brook Lopez) can pretty much shoot staight over them, regardless of how well they defend.
I'd also say that Fab Melo is a better low post defender then Stiemsma from the limited action I've seen from him thus far. In the preseason he shows an impressive ablity to body up his defender, put his arms straight up in the air, and bother defenders with his length. He did this without moving or putting himself in the position to get a foul called against him. He played few minutes, but his lowpost defense was outstanding when he was in the game.
Collins I would argue is at least a match for Stiemsma in terms of his low post defense.
Problem with both Fab and Collins is that right now they both suck offensively, so you are basically playing 4/5 on offense whenever they are on the court. The fact that both are turnover prone only makes this worse.
The value of Stiemsma was that he didn't only block shots, he was also a decent rebounder, he scored fairly well inside and he had a pretty decent midrange jumper too. His tendancy to get into foul trouble along with his mediocre low post defense were his biggest weaknesses IMHO, but outside of those he was a remarkably solid player cosidering the low risk we took on him.
Still Stiemsma's lowpost D was pretty horrendous. Basically what it comes down to is that anytime he didn't either (1) block a shot or (2) send somebody to the line, they would score on him pretty much at will.