Since failing to hear his name called in the 2011 NBA Draft, Kalin Lucas has spent some time overseas in Greece, with the Olympiacos, and more recently in Turkey, with Banvit. But after two seasons away from the States, he joined the Chicago Bulls for their training camp this past summer and in wake of being waived, took his chances in the D-League to play for their affiliate, the Iowa Energy.
Lucas has had a good season thus far with the Energy, averaging 16.0 points, 5.3 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. But, while he began the 2013-2014 campaign as their starting point guard, he was demoted to the bench for a short period when the Bulls assigned Marquis Teague to the D-League. During that time, Lucas saw a dramatic cut to his minutes - 34.3 minutes per game as a starter to 24.5 minutes as a reserve - but didn't let it phase him as he went toe-to-toe with Teague and often times outplayed him, which opened some eyes across the league.
Teague has since been recalled to the NBA and was traded to the Brooklyn Nets a couple of days ago in return for Tornike Shengalia. And Lucas? Well, he's reclaimed his starting spot, but is still in the D-League, fighting for a chance to play for an NBA team in dire need of some help at point.
Lucas has shown off his entire game through the first 23 games of the season. He's scored 20 or more points several times. He's knocked down 35 threes and is shooting them at a respectable rate with 36%. He's registered multiple games of seven or more assists, proving that he isn't just a scorer. And on Thursday night, he put it all together.
In 35 minutes against the Red Claws, Lucas scored a season-high 30 points on 10-for-20 shooting from the field and 4-for-6 from three. He also set another season-high by grabbing nine rebounds and even chipped in with four assists for good measure.
The former Spartan did most of his damage in the first three quarters and helped the Energy build a 14-point lead heading into the final 12 minutes. However, with a seemingly safe lead at hand, head coach Nate Bjorkgren put his substitutes in to start the fourth quarter, which sparked a quick 15-8 run by the Red Claws, bringing them within single digits and a shot at pulling off a big comeback. But Lucas ended their hopes of heading back home to Maine with a victory by providing a steady hand when he checked back in and knocking down a pair of big shots late, which ended up giving the Energy a 98-94 victory.
You won't find Lucas' name on the D-League Prospect List, but make no mistake about it, he's been one of the most consistent point guards this season and has played a major role in the Energy's early season success. For NBA teams looking for a scoring punch, Lucas may be able to provide them with some solid minutes off the bench, especially on a 10-day contract. He's flown under the radar for this long and it's about time people took notice.