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Film Don’t Lie: Saben Lee’s ability to navigate screens vital to his success while he continues to hone his 3-point shooting

I go to the film to see what we can take away from Lee’s 5 games in Las Vegas

NBA: Miami Heat at Detroit Pistons Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

A guy who has flown a little under the radar this offseason after a solid showing in his rookie year is Saben Lee. I suppose this is understandable when you are in the same draft class as Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart and play the same position as Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes, and the recently re-signed veteran Cory Joseph. With that said, the three-year deal (the final year is a team option) Troy Weaver and the Pistons gave Lee tells me they see something they like with this young man. My best guess, future second unit point guard potential. That might not sound like much, but it’s an extremely important role (as Detroit Pistons fans are well aware for the past decade or so).

I went to the film from Summer League to highlight the skills Lee is already showing, the areas for improvement, and (like with Luka Garza) a few things he could bring to the game as “X-Factors.”

Utilizing the Ball Screen

I was impressed by how well Lee was able to utilize ball screens during his five games in Summer League. It was not just about getting shots for himself AND his teammates. It was the variety of ways in which he was able to do so. Refusing the screen, reusing the screen, attacking “ice” coverage, attacking “drop” coverage, etc. One of the things I think he does best is always taking the time to subtly set up his defender before making his move. I highlight all of this and more in the following video breakdown.

3-Point Shooting

If you are looking for a mechanical breakdown of Saben Lee’s 3-pointer…..this is not going to be it. I will leave that to the experts; looking at you John Beilein! But what I can highlight is why the development of that 3-point is so vital to his game, especially in the ball screen, but also for his teammates when playing off the ball.

Managing the Game

Some may be asking what “managing the game” even means. For me, it is playing under control AND showing an understanding of the offense and how to be effective in it. For this breakdown, I show you back-to-back transition possessions that are VERY different BUT equally effective. Then I break down a staple of coach Dwane Casey’s offense and how Lee does an incredible job taking what the defense gives him to get two great looks for his team on back-to-back possessions.


This has quickly become one of my favorite areas to look at and break down for a player. For Saben Lee, I was able to find one offensively and one defensively. I believe an ability to be an effective cutter and get himself, and teammates, open looks can help expand his offensive game until that 3-point shot really comes around. Defensively……….just go be an absolute PEST that no opposing 2nd unit PG wants to see on the floor!

Saben Lee is a guy that I am very intrigued by and even though I am not sure we will see him get a lot of playing time this season with the Pistons, as he continues to develop, I would not be surprised if he ends up being a long term 2nd unit PG option. Considering where Troy Weaver was able to draft him that would be a heck of a return on investment for the 2nd round pick.