John Lucas III Fully Capable of Filling Back Up Role for Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors made the biggest splash so far in the NBA trade market. Rudy Gay will get his first taste of life in the Eastern conference Sunday against the Miami Heat. Jose Calderon has been shipped out and that leaves two point guards on the roster. Kyle Lowry is undeniably the starter. His physical style lends to injuries and games missed. Many are now wondering if the team needs another point guard to back up Lowry, but with John Lucas III on the roster another addition isn’t warranted.
Lucas III was born to be a point guard and a leader in the league. John Lucas, his father, instilled the hard work and the qualities into his son which made his own basketball career a success as a player and as a coach. That career was full of ups and downs and it is these tough life lessons of someone who lost many years to substance abuse which have shaped Lucas III. Lucas, after coaching, is now running a rehab center for all athletes dealing with many of the same issues he dealt with. It goes without saying that his son can handle any situation on and off the court.
After bouncing around many different leagues, Lucas III has finally found a home with the Raptors. He is a team first point guard and his enthusiasm can be seen on the court or on the bench cheering for every play. He is a steadying influence for the second unit but can also score in bunches whether getting to the hoop or shooting threes. He defends his position better than Calderon and isn’t afraid to get into the opposition’s face. He isn’t a starter and never will be but as back-up point guard he fits the bill. He filled in admirably last season in the same role for the Chicago Bulls as Derrick Rose was out with his injuries. He has been to the playoffs and that experience can only help the young roster.
Lowry can now breathe a sigh of relief. He is the starter and there are no questions about it. Lucas III is his back-up. Coach Dwane Casey now has defined roles in the point guard position and can manage court time. The Raptors, since the days of Damon Stoudamire, have never had just one defined point guard. Alvin Williams always had guards come and go. Calderon out lasted the likes of T.J. Ford, Jarret Jack and Jerryd Bayless. Lowry himself has never had the reigns to a team. As a member of the Memphis Grizzlies he played second fiddle to Chucky Atkins and Mike Conley. With the Houston Rockets he shared duties with Rafer Alston and Aaron Brooks. It’s well known in the league that he has a hard time adjusting to sharing time with anyone. Lowry now has the keys to the team, the only keys. Now it’s all on his shoulders and that is what he wanted when he asked the Rockets general manager Kevin McHale to trade him at the end of last season.
The last issue that needs be raised is what happens if either Lowry or Lucas III get injured. General manager Brian Colangelo has that covered as well. Alan Anderson played the point during his collegiate career at Michigan State. He can easily fill in and his toughness on defense is an added bonus. Also, the team has never had issues going to the D-League to grab players. The option is cheap and you never know who you might find.
So Raptor fans can sit easy with Lowry and Lucas III as the team’s point guards, for the time being anyway.
Shahab Khan is a Columnist with Rant Sports focusing on the Toronto Raptors
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