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David Lee disappointed to miss Warriors' banner ceremony, but looks forward to fresh start

Celtics forward David Lee hopes to set the tone for the first-team unit this season. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics newcomer David Lee will be watching when his former teammates with the Golden State Warriors receive their championship rings on Tuesday night.

Admittedly, he's a bit disappointed not to be there and join them in the celebration of last season's title team.

"I’ll be in to [Boston's training facility to] get my shots up [Tuesday night], as usual. After that, I’ll go back and definitely watch," said Lee. "It’s something that I really would have liked to go to, I’ll just be honest with you guys. It bothered me a little bit this morning. I would have liked to have gone to that. But even if I had chartered back, I would have gotten in at 3 in the morning, and that’s not fair to the current team I’m with.

"And I really want to have a great opening night and get us a victory. So it’s very important to me to watch that tonight. But once that happens, it’ll kind of be like the last little thing from last season and, like I said, I’m just really excited about [Wednesday] night and getting this new chapter started."

The Warriors won a franchise-record 67 games last season and secured the team's first title in 40 years. Before hosting the New Orleans Pelicans on the NBA's opening night on Tuesday, the Warriors will receive their rings and unveil the title banner at Oracle Arena.

Lee slipped to a reserve role with Golden State last season and was traded to Boston this summer in a deal that sent Gerald Wallace and Chris Babb to the tax-shedding Warriors (neither player made Golden State's opening-night roster). Lee, who has quickly emerged as a veteran leader with these young Celtics, is set to open the 2015-16 season as Boston's starting power forward and earned high praise this preseason for what he's added to the first unit (particularly with his passing abilities).

Lee wants Boston's first unit to set the tone for the Celtics this season.

"Without [reserve spark plug] Isaiah [Thomas] being in the starting lineup, who, as you know is a guy that’s very very aggressive when he’s in there, I think that I’m going to be asked to make some plays, whether it’s for myself or for somebody else and continue to be aggressive," said Lee. "That’s the way I like to play anyways. I’m looking to go out there and to press the issue a little bit and be aggressive and to help our team get off to a good start.

"I think that, having such a young team and having so many young guys come off the bench, something that we saw in the preseason that was a trend was when the starters set the tone with the energy, the second unit did a much better job of coming in and having that same energy. I think the one game that we got outplayed, intensity-wise, was in New York against the Knicks for whatever reason. I think that you saw in that game that when the starters didn’t bring the energy the way we should have, the bench might have followed up and did the same thing. With all that being said, it’s up to the starters to set the tone with how hard we need to play and how crisp we need to be from the start. Then when Coach goes to the bench, those guys have something good to watch and follow."

The 32-year-old Lee averaged 7.8 points, 7 rebounds and 2.4 assists over 20 minutes per game in five appearances this preseason. The Celtics owned a net rating -- the difference between their offensive (104.7) and defensive (91.1) ratings -- of plus-13.6 points per 100 possession when Lee was on the court this preseason.

Coach Brad Stevens isn't certain how Lee's championship experience will translate to a young team, but he believes his NBA experiences will help overall.

"I think any time you’ve got a guy [who] has experiences that are all over the place that’s a good thing," said Stevens. "And I don’t only think the championship experience is good. But it’s also good to have experiences where your teams haven’t been as good. Or maybe they went through tough times and came back, and progressed well as the season went along. So I think we’ll lean on David in that regard."