John Lucas III did not have an easy path to the NBA. After going undrafted out of Oklahoma State, Lucas played in Italy, Spain, China and the D-League around a couple of stints with the Rockets and Bulls. His roundabout journey to the league has given him a unusually humble perspective.
Lucas has finally found a place in the NBA, first as a member of the Toronto Raptors last season and now as the occasional starting point guard for the Utah Jazz. That is, he was the starter for two games — until a dreadful 0-for-7 shooting performance against the Pelicans last week saw Lucas get sent to the bench.
Despite the benching — in favor of journeyman Diante Garrett, no less — Lucas reacted like most of us wish every player would, from youth ball to the pros.
“One thing about me: I’m a team player,” Lucas told The Salt Lake Tribune. “That game, I was pressing. I wasn’t playing good, so why would I stay on the court?”
Lucas received only nine minutes of playing time the next game, too, but came back two games later to score seven points and dish out four assists in 25 minutes off the bench. He also worked his way into our hearts as one of our new favorite players.