By the numbers: Tracking Kalin Lucas in big games

Posted: March 2, 2010 by Jared Field in College

1 to 1: My assist-to-turnover ratio in big games.

While the debate is still raging regarding Kalin Lucas and his NBA prospects, let’s look inside the numbers.

Some, including me, have questioned his play in big games this season. I’ve made the case that Lucas gets big numbers and hits big shots against bad teams like Michigan, but is MIA against top competition.

Let’s look at this season:

Big games: Gonzaga, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin (twice), Purdue (twice) and Ohio State. That’s a total of nine games.

Here’s how he did: 12. 3 points per game, 25 assists (2.7 per game), 27 turnovers (3 per game) and 38-104 from the field (36%) and six losses.

It could be worse, too. I didn’t really have to include Florida, a nine-loss team from the SEC that lost to Richmond and South Alabama just three weeks after beating MSU. Removing Florida from the list leaves this: 11.3 points per game, 24 assists (3 per game), 24 turnovers (3 per game) and 30-93 from the field (32%).

  1. BT says:

    Darren Collison 08/09
    ppg 14.4 rpg 2.4 AST4.7 TO 2.5 A/T 1.9/1
    Kalin Lucas
    ppg 14.7 rpg 2.1 AST 4.6 TO 2.2 A/T 2.1/1
    ppg 15.1 rpg 1.9 AST4.0 TO 2.4 A/T 1.6/1

    I can make a few assumptions of my own
    1. You’ve probably never played basketball
    2. You are a Michigan Fan and to give any MSU player credit would be sacrilegious.
    3. He is still only a Junior and is being projected late first round if he leaves. If he stays you think he will just remain the same? Not get any better?
    4. His leadership has grown tremendously which cannot be measured in stat lines but does transfer over into next level success.
    5. he is average a nice 13.5 ppg against ranked opponents. Not the best numbers in the world but certainly rank right up there. (this is even including his freshman year) The numbers from Sophomore and Junior year are 14.1 ppg.

    I think you are simply choosing to overlook how good of a player he really is. Oh and not to mention he did all of this while leading a nationally, and in most cases, highly ranked team.

    • Jared Field says:

      Nope. I’m a basketball fan. Not a Michigan fan. I actually root for MSU between the two of them. UM is unwatchable. My favorite college player of all-time is Shawn Respert and I’m from Flint man. Figure it out.

      Lucas stayed this season, is he better? Nope. He has actually regressed a little. Not saying he can’t be great if he stays, but it’s just reality.

      His leadership? OK, you mean it has grown since he was benched for lack of leadership in December?

      Did you actually read the post? His numbers in big games are not good.

  2. BT says:

    I just put all of his numbers against ranked opponents for his career. 13.6 ppg and 14.1 between Junior and Sophomore year. Not good? Yeah his leadership read Izzo’s remarks about it after that benching, all high remarks. I don’t get what the hating is over. you included two games in there that shouldn’t have been, wisconsin where he got hurt and didnt play a full game and Purdue where he was less than healthy if you watched. That would take his average from your 12 ppg to an even 14, furthermore northwestern was ranked at the time they played that included would raise his average to a tidy 15 ppg. Oversight?

    • Jared Field says:

      Northwestern? Ha.

      Excuses man. It’s all about excuses.

      Care to talk about his assist-to-turnover ratio? He is, of course, a POINT GUARD. Don’t you think the other factors are more important than points? Ideally, should your point guard be your leading scorer?

      In the two Wisconsin games he took 22 shots man.

      Why is it hating? I loved Lucas in high school, but right now he is overhyped. He’s not ready for the NBA. If you were a fan of any other program you’d realize this. He needs another year.

      • DDAWKINS says:

        R you forgetting the tournament last year? Kalin came up huge against Sherron Collins and Kansas. Hitting the go ahead floater and having a great stat line. 18 points, 7 assists, and 4 steals. His offensive numbers arent even down from last year. His points are up, T-O are down and assists are down by .2? cmon you guys are out of your mind. talk about something that is legit, this is just a waste of everyones time

      • Jared Field says:

        DD: Do us all a favor and go back and read the posts.

  3. B.T. says:

    I am a fan of a large amounts of other programs. Syracuse… Johnny flynn was their leading scorer
    Maryland… Vasquez was and is their leading scorer
    Ohio State… Evan turner ring a bell
    The game has changedm, the Point Gaurd these days usually on great teams leads their team in scoring. Same goes for the NBA. Scoring Point gaurds are the regular now. D-Will, Chris Paul Jameer Nelson etc. Sure they have a lot of assists as well but they also are surrounded by NBA players, most of them with at least one other superstar. I’m not saying he is the best player of our generation, but he is a solid player, with TONS of NBA potential. You cannot teach speed, quickness, craftiness. Jump shots can be learned, perfected, but his intangibles are there.

    • Jared Field says:

      If he has “TONS of NBA potential,” why is he projected at the end of the first round on Draft Express in 2010 and in the middle of the second round in 2011 by


      • sabetodo says:

        Besides that, which team would possibly think he could be an answer for them down the road at point guard?

        And then there’s this: in the second round, only 5 of the projected picks on are under 6’5″, and none are under 6’0″. If teams are taking fliers on guys in the second round, they’re picking big men. Not guards.

    • PJR says:

      Think PG’s leading their team in scoring on great teams is the exception not the rule. Lucas has lost far more games than he’s won, that’s for sure. He is like Harris and doesn’t know when to stop shooting when he’s cold. Guiltless. But NBA teams aren’t going to let Lucas jack up a bunch of shots, ain’t happening! Now the biggest reason Lucas won’t get to the NBA is his defense is horrible. Imagine Lucas trying to stop a mid level PG like Stuckey? Red Meat! Then imagince Lucas on a guy like Wade or such. Ridiculous Red Meat! Lucas is one guy you can confidently say is WORSE than Neitzel on defense, noting Neitzel at least faked like he was trying, but also noting Neitzel just got cut from Euroball for not being able to cover opponent PGs. That’s Lucas’ big fix he’ll absolutely need to fix if NBA is his goal. The shorter you are, the worse shooter you are, the more you have to be a stopper on defense. Right now I’d predict a path similar to Neitzel’s. The mock draft potential, not drafted, some courtesy to Izzo getting him some NBA team’s summer league, then not making the D league because there’s little upside, going Euro, and getting the boot for no defense!

    • PJR says:

      BTW you have to under stand it’s the NBA you’re talking about. There’s literally dozens of guys as quick, as speedy, as “crafty” as Lucas (is jumping into opponents to try to get fouls your idea of “crafty”? Well that ain’t happening in the NBA!) but that are 4-6 inches taller, longer, jump lots higher, stronger, who can shoot lots better, and Btw play stopper defense! Don’t fellas realize the reason Lucas has regressed is MSU’s frontcourt has regressed. Just like at OLSMs, who had probably one of the best high school frontcourts around, Lucas uses the frontcourt to play the personal ppg game. This year, even wiht Green cleaning up a whole lot, there still no Suton to clean up Lucas’ mess of bad shots and such. That’s BassAckward as far as the NBA schemes go! As Iverson proved, that style is real tough to make work!

  4. I happen to be a UM grad and a UM fan and have still defended Kalin. I only say that to say that I do not believe Jared has any bias based on what school he roots for. I think the numbers are evidentry to a point. We need some more in depth numbers to be more accurate with our comparisons, such as pts./minute, pts./shot attempt, ast./min., pts./40 min., ast./40 min., etc. Then better comparisons can be made in m opinion. Numbers only tell part of the story, but time will tell it all.

    • Jared Field says:

      What more do you want to know?

      It’s clear that this year Lucas has been pretty poor in big games. I don’t know how you could argue otherwise. He’s an NBA point guard prospect and had more turnovers than assists in big games.

      Those stats could convict Sam Riddle for God’s sake.

      • Stats lie when not put into minute context. Simple as that. I compile stats for half the year, so I see them all the time. Composites are just that, but don’t tell it all, trust me. True comparisons have to be based on minutes as well.

  5. DDAWKINS says:

    ya know what you guys are right, kalin lucas is not any good and drew neitzel is a better defender than him.

  6. Sloc says:

    Why are we looking at every stat there is except for shooting percentage???

    Let me give you some stats from Last year when this guy was Big 10 Player of the year.

    3-10 vs Maryland
    3-12 vs Wichita State
    2-10 vs UNC
    3-15 vs Bradley
    4-10 vs Alcorn State
    1-4 vs The Citidel
    5-14 vs NW
    3-13 vs Penn State
    3-13 vs Illinois
    7-21 vs Penn State
    4-14 vs Minnesota
    4-15 vs Indiana
    2-11 vs Purdue
    2-6 vs Iowa
    4-10 vs Indiana
    6-14 vs Purdue
    3-10 vs Minnesota
    5-15 vs Kansas
    7-15 vs UConn (WOW!!!!)
    4-12 vs UNC

    ladies and gentleman YOUR Player of the year!!!

    • I didn’t say he should’ve been player of the year. Winning that award hasn’t done him any favors, and honestly, if it was going to go to a MSU player last year, it should’ve been Suton.

      His overall shooting has improved this year. I’m not over-rating him, he has plenty of holes in his game. But he can create his own shot off the dribble and has played at a pretty high level the last two years, whether he’s over-rated or not. Those things make him a NBA prospect.

  7. G Mill says:

    Kalin Lucas has done what MOST MSU star players do the longer they stay under Izzo and thats decline… Not many of his premier players got better as time went on. Of course Mo Pete did and maybe CB and even Mo Cleaves but look at the majority… there is a reason even Maurice Taylor jumped ship too early and ruined a career… Also J rich got out of there as well as Zach Randolph…of course they had the NBA hype by there sophomore year and proved they had the talent. But many players decline in the msu system

  8. DDAWKINS says:

    JF: do us all a favor and shut down this site

  9. Gavin Raath says:

    Kalin will struggle defensively in the league. He will not be able to cover any starting point guards at the next level, and his biggest asset, scoring, will be totally neutralized. Until he learns how to distribute, pick his shots and sit-down on guys, he will be a back-up at the next level, probably bouncing from team-to-team for a five-six year career. That would be a compliment for most college players though. He’s just not a star the way most MSU fans believe.

    And let it be said, Kalin has to miss Travis Walton doing all the dirty work in the backcourt the last two seasons.

    • I don’t see how you can say his scoring will be totally neutralized. Zone defenses are prevalent in college. They let hand-checking and more physical perimeter defense go. There’s a reason the NBA is now dominated by perimeter players — the grimy clutch and grab defense of the 90s has pretty much been outlawed. If anything, Lucas will score better in the NBA.

      Teams aren’t looking for starters necessarily in the first round. They are playoff teams looking to fill roles. Let’s say … Dallas, for example, is picking. Maybe they want a change of pace guard to backup J-Kidd, push the pace, score some points and run for 10-15 minutes a game. Could Lucas not fill that role?

      I think you guys are taking me saying that he could be a first round pick as me saying I think he’s destined for NBA greatness. I’m not. There’s no way to predict that for any late first round/second round caliber player. But his skillset fits with what NBA teams look for late in the first round — guys who can fill roles.

      • Gavin Raath says:

        I agree with the last two points, but your first point, though well thought out, I just can’t take since the kid isn’t a consistent enough shooter to scare anyone at the next level. Most NBA point guards will be able to check him just fine, but without a threatening shot they’ll give him all sorts of room to deny penetration. For the record, Lucas will be drafted and will probably have a nice back-up career, but I would compare him to Tyron Lue and not Collison.

      • Marcellus Miller says:

        I think Lue is a good comparison, but maybe Sebastian Telfair is the best right now. The difference between Lucas/Telfair and Iverson (who largely has the same issues with shot selection A/T, etc.) is that he had extraordinary quickness. That’s what made him great. Can Kalin develop something that separates him, yes. Even Jason Kidd learned to shoot…

      • PJR says:

        Two huge flaws in P. Hayes post on Lucas. First is that Lucas is a guy that can “fill roles”, and the second is the line ” .. If anything, Lucas will score better in the NBA.”. Both of those are so wrong. First, Lucas is not a player that can “fill roles”. He can’t play defense so he’s not a guard the coach will call off the bench to stop someone. He’s not a create and dish PG so he’s not gonna fill that role. He’s not a deadly shooter who can fill up threes. Sorry, it’s exactly the opposite, Lucas is gonna have a problem filling any role. And per scoring more, that’s just ludicrous. Lucas is a less than average shot, and those season average stats for Lucas are skewed high, because Lucas is a PG who routinely shoots 25% or less on a lot of shots against the good teams, while padding the stats against the bad teams. “Shoot Greater” not “Great Shooter”. Only NBA coaching is not going to let Lucas jack up shots like Izzo does. So how else can Lucas score? He is no more quick than the dozens who’ll be guarding him. No real advantage there. He can’t penetrate and finish in college, and that will get worse against NBA tall timber. His tactic of jumping into opponents to draw FTs has worm thin in the college game, and will evaporate in the pros. Lucas won’t make the NBA, but if his game changes enough where he did he certainly wouldn’t be in for scoring!

  10. Roland Morsee says:

    I think that if he was at any other school beside MSU he would average more than his 15 points. He was not brought in as a scoring guard. He was brought in to make tough baskets, lay ups, and ones, run a team, get to the rack, play lock down d and because of his speed. At msu he showed me he is clutch and he did it in high school. You can blame what ever he has done this season on MSU coaching staff. I have seen him change his game for MSU. Just like any other player since the national title run. In high school he scored relentlessly off pentrating and getting easy buckets. He always knocked down a three if he jumped into it or kinda made a crossover into the shot. He will struggle at the next level defensively, I agree. His freshmen year rose and westbrook went to work on him. But he killed fields and augstein. Mcamamy in my mind has been a tough matchup for him and huges and battle. He always holds his own or does better than a player of his same height. But I do believe hes a nba guard. Just needs to works on some stuff, if CP3 can do it, so can lucas. I believe that if he could just had more freedom and guys on his team would knock down open shots, kalin lucas would average 17 to 18 a game. This season hes played decent enough with all that is residing on his shoulder. If turner comes back it would be as easy for him next season. You also got to see that he is playing in IZZO system . I dont know as much hoops as everyone on here. but lucas is smart every game he knows he can get to 12 to 14 just by getting the last 10 free throws. the balls always in his hands in the last 3 mins for fouls. MSU plays so up in down teams always stay with them to the end. IDK enough bball to knock izzo, but I do love somethings he does and tries to do. In basketball theirs two three things I look for explosiveness, speed and heart. Kalins has them all. LLP will bounce back and make up for this last two years, have faith everyone.

    • PJR says:

      This line ” … He was brought in to make tough baskets, lay ups, and ones, run a team, get to the rack, play lock down d and because of his speed … ” has so many incorrectos in it, well it is a record. “play lock down d” is an amazing statement tied to Lucas. Also, you point about Lucas and FTs relates to Lucas’ tactic of jumping into players to get fouls and get FTs. However you’ll note college players are on to him and watch for that now, plus that’s a call that’s just wearing thin with college refs now, and in the pros that call will be non existent. Without the call, it’s a turnover or a bad shot. You saw many of Lucas’ Purdue 7 TOs or 3-13 shooting or even PF charges where just because of Lucas trying to jump into someone. Ain’t working in college, and just a nail in the coffin trying to get in the pros!

  11. Roland Morsee says:

    Another thing that has hurt lucas is msu constant push to play him and lucious together which is always going to be a bad idea. it just gives up to much height. DRAYMOND GREEN NEEDS TO START FOR THIS TEAM TO WIN THE TITLE. I vote for a NIX GREEN ROE LUCAS. IT DOESNT MATTER IF ALLEN OR SUMMERS IS OUT THERE THEY PLAY THE SAME. sorry for my poor grammer, im very lazy tonight everyone.

  12. Roland Morsee says:

    i agree with you gavin for now. I like hayes post except for the suton part. Sloc look add his free throw points please to each of those games and were talking POY. Mr. miller Jared point of you is biases because he said he likes point guards who are past first. (lucas would pass first but no one can hit a shot). PJR, i like what your saying, I tell my boy Patrick lucas perry you have to have a great senior to be a great point guard. Look at laval and tom herzog, WAYNE WADE and shaq. lol. Sabeto I also dont think hes the answer for any team chris paul showed us this season he needs a center or pf. So jared field do you like lucas as a player or nba player yes or no? do u feel he is msu piece to winning a chip, yes or no?

  13. A Coggins says:

    I am sorry, but who is this “Kalin Lucas” you speak of? We all know the “PLAYER OF THE YEAR” is in Ann Arbor – MANNY HARRIS ladies and gentlemen!!

    (Before anyone gets their “you -know-what” in a tizzy, please note sarcasam was used in this post…sheesh…)

  14. actraiser says:

    Writers block? Seriously, this is pretty much the second article in a row dedicated to bashing Lucas. You mention that you didn’t have to include Florida, as if you were being nice, but then give his stats without that game anyways. How about mentioning that Lucas didn’t even play the whole game against Wisconsin and then played injured against Purdue? The stats never tell the whole story anyways, look at the first Wisconsin-MSU game for instance. Lucas shot the ball poorly, so looking at the stat line you’d think MSU won in spite of him. But really he did his best Walton impression and played lock-down defense on Hughes, I mean he shadowed him everywhere, and then went on to hit a clutch shot late to help seal the victory.

    Of course you bring up his poor shooting numbers, and yeah, he doesn’t have a consistent enough jumper. He creates his own shots though and he’s most dangerous when driving and creating contact in the first place. His assist-to-turnover ratio leaves something to be desired, but I don’t think it’s fair to read too much into it. He’s asked to be more of a scorer than a passer in the first place, and he’s really more of a combo guard than a point guard considering he switches every time Lucious is on the court too.

    Again, Lucas isn’t very consistent, but he’s still the biggest threat on a very talented team, the guy every team keys in on, and when he’s hitting jumpers he becomes a nightmare for any team. Keep on tracking Lucas though, the biggest games are yet to come.

    • Jared Field says:

      5-10 combo guard. Ha.

      If I were to post on Manny Harris and his inability to shoot from the perimeter, would that be Manny bashing? Or would it just be making a point, and backing it up with evidence.

      Homer fans are so sensitive. Just get to the point: Tell me Lucas hasn’t been quite poor in big games this year.

      • actraiser says:

        More like, ‘6-1 combo guard. Ha.’

        But regardless, he’s obviously more effective as a scorer than as a distributor in the first place, so he can play the 2 spot pretty comfortably. I like seeing him run off more screens and just concentrate on attacking the basket more. Lucious and Lucas make for a ridiculously fast back court and a great transition game when they don’t turn it over. The defense suffers but it’s still exciting to watch, at least every now and then.

      • Jared Field says:

        I’m 5-10. I’ve interviewed Kalin Lucas before and looked him right in the eyes. If he’s 6-1, I’m 6-1.

      • Marcellus Miller says:

        Jared, my how you’ve grown!

      • Jared Field says:

        Kalin must be getting the Allen Iverson bump.

    • Gavin Raath says:

      No question he is the most dangerous player on MSU, and Delvon Roe is the most disappointing player on the team by a mile. I would say it’s Nix, but I never expected anything from him. Just another token big guy like Tom Herzog.

      But it we are talking about the point guard position, you have to address A/T ratios immediately — most NBA teams offer bonuses based upon that stat.

  15. greg johnson says:

    I’m a MSU homer and Kalin Lucas needs to stay for his Sr. season to have any chance of a solid NBA career.

  16. bball watcher says:

    I am a MSU grad and also a huge fan of MSU everything. That being said I do not believe Kalin at this point is a player at the next level. It has been pointed out (feverishly) that he does not have great shooting stats, and that his A/T ratio is also poor. Stats don’t tell the whole story but if you put his stats up against what you see in the game they tell the SAME STORY. He has poor shot selection, he forces a pace sometimes that his teammates cannot keep up with, and his often sour faced leadership tactic does not seem to reach his teammates. The kid has heart, and I believe he wants to win, but he just isn’t an NBA player at this point.

    Also, please don’t shut the site down there is always good discussion here without the B.S. name calling!

  17. Kevin Jackson says:

    Kalin lucas equals shorty version of scooney penn …he will not make the nba…not even Dumars stupid enough to draft him ie…mateen, rodney white, darko

  18. […] when I questioned the Big 10 player of the year’s performances in big games. Kalin Lucas, I made the case, puts up big numbers against average to below average teams and lays eggs consistently against top […]

  19. […] What should I do? Should I let another overly-critical Jared Field rant on a good player go unchecked? Should I pretend he hasn’t done this before? […]

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