Bouncing back from a 14-36 record last season, the Iowa Energy emerged as Central Division champions this year, en route to a much improved 31-18.
The Energy were surprisingly, yet steadily, red hot from the start of the season, and floor general Kalin Lucas played a large part in his team's early season turnaround and subsequent success. A confident leader, the young gun orchestrated Iowa's offense beautifully. He posted averages of 15.1 points, 5.0 assists, and 1.1 steals through 29 contests before succumbing to an injury in early February.
From there on out, however, the Energy only continued to roll in the weeks to follow. That said, a rather untimely NBA call-up of M.V.P. candidate Othyus Jeffers now leaves Iowa in desperate need of an injection of life on offense. Luckily for them, it's come time for Lucas to hit the minor league hardwood yet again.
In the first game of the NBA D-League postseason, Iowa dropped the opening contest of its first-round matchup with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Tuesday night by a score of 146-135. Though their backs may immediately be against the wall in this short but sweet three-game series, perhaps there is some silver lining to be found for the Energy with an opportunity to take control of the rest of the series at their fingertips.
In game one, Lucas returned to appear in his first game in nearly two months. Though he only hit the court for four minutes of play, perhaps such a cameo is indicative of increased playing time to come as the Energy fights for its postseason lives.
Earlier this season, Lucas strutted his stuff and ended up standing tall as not only an intriguing prospect, but one of the best point guards in all of the NBADL. With steady instincts and an even better handle of the ball, Lucas plays with a cool, calm, and collected nature about him on offense. He can keep defenses honest with his shot, but his vision and ability to chorerograph things for the rest if his teammates on the court is something he truly has a knack for.
In addition to his solid numerical production, Lucas was widely praised earlier in the season for seemingly outplaying then-Bulls assignee Marquis Teague, as the latter struggled to find a rhythm in Iowa.