Bulls player recap: John Lucas III
May, 20, 2012
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com
Dennis Wierzbicki/US PresswireJohn Lucas scored a team-high 24 points in a win over the Heat on March 14.Over the next few weeks, we'll take a closer look at each player on the Bulls roster and see where they fit in for the future.
Position: Point guard. Age: 29. 2011-12 salary: $947,000
Season recap: Lucas went from a guy who rarely dressed for games in the beginning of the season to a guy who logged major playoff minutes after Derrick Rose went down with a knee injury. He was one of the few Bulls who had absolutely no fear offensively when he was on the floor. Sometimes that was a positive for coach Tom Thibodeau, most times it made Thibodeau more frustrated.
Season highlight: Playing without Rose (groin), Lucas stepped up and scored 24 points in 27 minutes in a March 14 showdown against the Miami Heat. He was 9-for-12 from the field and hit several big shots down the stretch. Lucas had a handful of solid games throughout the season, but it was this game that gave Thibodeau the confidence to keep using him in big moments for the rest of the year.
Season lowlight: Games 3-5 against the Sixers. Lucas struggled to get the Bulls into an offense while he was on the floor. He was just 8-for-23 from the field and had five turnovers.
Notes: Lucas became one of the most well-liked players in the locker room because of his work ethic and the way he handled the season as a whole. Whether he played or not, he always kept the same positive attitude. Like many of his teammates. Lucas was visibly shaken when Rose went down. He was almost in tears after Game 1 before anyone knew the severity of the injury.
Quotes: "We love him," Bulls forward Luol Deng said of Lucas in March. "He's older than us, but just a great guy. We all love him and we want to see him do well. He's always on the bench cheering everyone on and working hard. When it's his turn, we've got to make sure we let him know that we appreciate it."
What's next?: Lucas has to wait and see whether the Bulls will offer him a contract for next season. Given the uncertain status of Rose and the fact that the Bulls still must decide on C.J. Watson's option, Lucas could be a cheaper alternative as a backup depending upon whether another team gives him an offer or not. Lucas will continue to work on his game all summer and wait for another opportunity to show off his game. He proved this season that he has the ability to stick around the league.
FINAL GRADES: Regular Season: B-. Postseason: C.