Toronto Raptors Should Stick with John Lucas III Ahead of Newly Acquired Sebastian Telfair

By Cody Williams
John Lucas III Toronto Raptors
Tom Szczerbowski – USA Today Sports Images

At the relatively quiet and blockbuster-less NBA Trade Deadline, one of the bigger names that was dealt was Sebastian Telfair, who was sent to the Toronto Raptors from the Phoenix Suns.

Telfair has yet to play a game for Toronto, but played in 46 for the Suns this season. In those games, he’s averaged 17.3 minutes per game and put up just six points, 2.5 assists and 1.5 rebounds per game. He’s shot the ball well from long-range at 38.1 percent, but has struggled with his overall efficiency, having just a 38.1 percent field-goal percentage.

Much speculation around the Telfair trade has been that he could potentially come in and be the Raptor’s backup behind Kyle Lowry and taking the role that John Lucas III has been playing for recent weeks. However, Telfair replacing Lucas as the back-up point guard may not be the best idea for Toronto.

For the season, Lucas is averaging just 12.6 minutes per game and only 5.7 points, 1.7 assists and one rebound per game on just 39.8 percent shooting, but while posting a terrific 42.5 percent three-point percentage. However, Lucas also spent much of the season as the third-string point guard playing behind Jose Calderon.

Calderon was traded as part of the Rudy Gay deal at the end of January, which put Lucas in the backup position. In the 11 games since Calderon left Toronto, Lucas is averaging 17 minutes per game and posting 10.3 points, 1.4 assists and 0.9 rebounds per game. He’s also raised his shooting percentages to 50.6 percent from the field and a ridiculous 54.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Telfair obviously posts much better secondary statistics, but Lucas has been the much more efficient and effective scorer. However, Telfair’s assist numbers aren’t so much better than Lucas’ that it outweighs the scoring that Lucas has been providing.

As Telfair will most likely join the Raptors this week, it would be in the team’s best interest to keep his minutes at a minimum and stick with Lucas as the backup. The Raptors are 7-4 since Lucas took over the duties as the backup. That probably has a lot to do with the addition of Gay, but the way Lucas has been playing was a part of it as well.

Cody Williams is a Senior NBA Writer with Rant Sports. Follow Cody on Twitter @TheSizzle20 and like his Facebook page.

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