When the Utah Jazz spent the resources necessary to acquire Trey Burke in the lottery during the 2013 NBA Draft, the entire NBA knew that Burke would be “the future” at the point guard position in Utah. On Monday, the team gave itself some insurance in the backcourt by signing free agent veteran John Lucas III to a two-year contract.
Lucas III, son of former NBA player John Lucas, will be the primary backup to Burke in Utah, and he comes with the relatively cheap reported price tag of $1.6 million per season. The 30-year-old has bounced around the league for 5 seasons, but in recent years, his play has generally increased in effectiveness, and he has proven himself worthy of full-time work in the backcourt.
For his career, Lucas has averaged just 5.1 points and 1.5 assists per game on 39% shooting from the floor, but he does provide value in other ways. His small stature (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) does present limitations on defense, but he is a fearless scorer who has averaged over 16 points per 40 minutes in the last two seasons, and he can give the small-ish Burke some advice on getting his shot off among the “trees” in the NBA.
Ideally, Utah won’t be calling on Lucas to play big-time minutes this season, but in a free agent marketplace that is rapidly drying up, this is the type of shrewd move that a fan base should endorse.