Coaching Candidate: Charles Lee

By Dillon Sage

With the recent firing of Terry Stotts, the Blazers are looking for a Head Coach for the first time since the 2012-2013 season. Charles Lee has been rumored for head coaching jobs with the Pelicans, Pacers, Thunder, Celtics, and he was mentioned in Kevin Arnovitz’s article on the hottest head coaching prospects.

Charles Lee was born in Washington DC and played his high school ball there as well. Lee attended Bucknell University, where he led the Bucknell Bisons to two straight Patriot League Championships and two straight NCAA Tournament second-round appearances. In his senior season he played 32 games averaging 13.2ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.8apg, 2.2spg, FG: 43.5%, 3PT: 37.4%, FT: 74.7%.

Lee had a cup of coffee in the League, where he developed contacts with Coach Budenholzer and some other key members of the Spurs organization at that time. His professional basketball career started in Hapoel Gilboa/Afula in Israel, Verviers-Pepinster in Belgium, MEG Goettingen, and end with Artland Dragons in Germany.

After his playing career ended, Charles Lee putting his business management degree to good use and became a stock equity position trader for Bank Of America Merrill Lynch for two years. Being away from the game made him want to back in as a coach, so he reached out to all of his mentors and connections found that there was an opening at his alma mater Bucknell. Worked with Bucknell from 2012-2014. In his time with the Bisons, he helped develop Mike Mike Muscala.

In 2014 coach Mike Budenholzer offered Charles Lee to join his staff. Charles would focus on Player Development and internal team improvement. In four years in Atlanta, one of Lee’s biggest successes was the development of Dennis Schroeder, who in 2021 Free agency is looking at a significant payday.

After four years in Atlanta, Charles Lee followed Coach Budenholzer to Milwaukee. With the Bucks, the focus with Charles Lee continues to be player development as he helps the young players with day-to-day continual growth and development.

In the very few interviews Charles has done, the things he’s talked about installing if he were to be the head coach was with the coaches
everyone had equal opportunity and voice in meetings, holding people accountable and having clear and concise roles.

I’m not sure what offensive or defensive scheme he would want to run as his team’s head coach. He has a reputation for high-level player development, connecting with his players, excellent communicator, and quoting Kevin Arnovitz’s article.

“Few assistant coaches saw a bigger season-to-season jump in our informal poll than Charles Lee, 35, who’s in his sixth season working under Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta and now Milwaukee. Fans of Lee, who played professionally overseas before spending a couple of years as an equity trader on Wall Street, tout him as a five-tool coach who is every bit as comfortable having meaningful conversations with a backup point guard as he is dining with a team owner. Those who have worked with him say he has an intuitive sense of how to inspire improvement from players but also understands high-level strategy and the preparation required to implement it. He is, in the words of one peer, someone who is “categorically going to be an NBA head coach.”

Kevin Arnovitz’

Cover Photo of Charles Lee by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

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