How Malcolm Lee’s NBA future can boost the Bruins

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UCLA’s new assistant should help the Bruins add some East Coast talent in Westwood.

Just as nice would be if Malcolm Lee turns into a decent NBA player.

After a benign junior season, the 6-5 guard declared for the NBA draft but has been earning decent reviews as teams scout his skills. He’s got size, plays good defense and could help NBA teams that need a solid back-up point.

Also important? UCLA players earn praise for their solid fundamentals and defensive ability. They enter the league ready to play, even if they never ran a pro-style system at UCLA.

Aside from that, Lee’s biggest asset seems to be former Bruins guards like Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday and Darren Collison, all of whom have turned into solid or star NBA players. (Nevermind that Lee doesn’t have their physical gifts or accomplished college résumés.)

If it all helps Lee get drafted and convinces his eventual NBA team that he can play a little, it’s nothing but good news for Ben Howland and the Bruins.

When those guards and others like Kevin Love, Arron Afflalo and Trevor Ariza eventually thrive in the NBA, UCLA gets a boost among potential recruits because it’s seen as a way to help become a pro. John Calipari will tell you as much.

(Having that kind of talent on his roster can be spun as a compliment to Howland’s coaching or a serious critique on mishandling talented players. Take your pick.)

Lee never showed the same potential or flashed the same skills as those other three guards. But if he does blossom in the pros, it’d be the ultimate boost for UCLA and Howland’s coaching rep.

And would probably re-establish Westwood as the destination college hoops spot on the West Coast.

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