MIA: Kalin Lucas back at it again for MSU in big games

Posted: December 8, 2010 by Jared Field in College

I made some people angry last March 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 competition.

I know it’s early, but let’s look at Lucas in MSU’s big games, all losses:

UConn: 10 points, two rebounds, one assist and five turnovers (4-for-12 shooting)

Duke: 14 points, three rebounds, two assists, two turnovers (5-for-13 shooting)

Syracuse: Eight points, three rebounds, two assists and six turnovers (3-for-9 shooting)

So, in three big games the (some would say) best player in the Big 10 is averaging just more than 10 points per game, less than two assists and more than four turnovers. That’s an assist-to-turnover ratio of worse than 1 to 2. (His assist-to-turnover ratio last season in big games was 2.7 to 3. ) To make matters worse, he shot 12-for-34 in those games (35%).

Last year when I pointed out his performance in big games I was accused of “MSU  bashing.” It doesn’t really bother me. Over the years I’ve learned that you can’t critique star players at MSU or Tom Izzo without being dubbed a hater. (At least in Izzo’s case there’s a precious little to be critical of.)

Just consider that he is MSU’s point guard and is supposed to be drafted into the NBA as a point guard. Shouldn’t it trouble MSU fans that he puts up terrible PG numbers against top competition? Korie Lucious has played better in big games of late.

  1. Jared Field says:

    Korie Lucious’ averages in the three big games: 12 points, 5.3 assists and 2.3 turnovers.

    I’m not saying he’s great, but I am saying he has played better in big games including the tournament run last season.

  2. flint basketball says:

    how can you even bring up the tournament run last year…he played all of what 2 games? how can you even bring that up? what about his sophmore year? i guess he wasnt big in big games when he won big 10 players of the year and took them to a final four…but i guess lucious played great to then huh?

  3. flint basketball says:

    or when he came up big for them against the so call almight sherron collins…or in the final four game when he led all scorers with 20? and of course against high level comp right now it will be hard for him to keep up and do what he use to do….he tore an ACL….. i would love to see you try and do even a fourth of what he does…i bet you can not pull that off… so lay off its early in the season he sat out the whole summer against kids who played everyday in the summer so relax and let him be him and play..get off his back

    • Jared Field says:

      This is not about liking or disliking Kalin Lucas. He was one of my favorites of all-time at the high school level. Again, numbers aren’t biased. He’s not getting the job done.

      In his junior season, MSU played nine “big” games in the regular season. Here’s what 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.

      Do those numbers seem good to you? I mean, for an elite college point guard with NBA aspirations? A 1-to-1 assist to turnover ration?

  4. A. Biggers says:

    You’re on to something, but not 100 percent correct, Jared.

    What about this year against Washington? A career-high 29 points against a team that will be in the tournament.

    Scoring 14 against Duke isn’t laying an egg, it’s Lucas’ career average (nearly). The team laid an egg. But yes, he did shoot poorly. So you have an argument there.

    I want to say he scored 22 against Florida last season, which was a good team. He had 15/17 against UNC, granted a down-year for the ‘Heels, but still a decent team.

    He dropped 20 on the Illini last year, which contrary to its finish in the Big Ten, was a great team, and will be this year.

    I’ll agree, Lucas is inconsistent, but to say he never shows up against good teams.

    The poster above made a great point: Remember Kansas in the Sweet 16? Just because you don’t think he’s NBA-worthy, which I’m beginning to question myself, doesn’t justify to say he lays eggs. Especially coming off surgery, six months of not playing and a team that frankly isn’t what it was last year.

    I like the assisit to turnover ratio, that’s a good argument tool. I’m not 100 percent disagreeing with you, but I don’t fully agree.

    And I could look up stats on past games, those are just ones that immediately come to mind.

    • Jared Field says:

      Clearly he had a great sophomore season. Since then, however, I think it’s fair to say that he hasn’t improved. I’m looking at this through the lens of what a point guard is meant to provide. Right now he’s not providing it … and to a large extent he didn’t provide it last season in big games. 1-to-1 ratio in big games is just not very good. And trust me, I don’t think Lucious is a great player. I think he’s been great in about three really important games though.

      I think Lucas is a really talented scorer but, again, that’s not what this is about. This is about being a point guard.

      It was my mistake leaving out the UW game. He had a huge scoring night. But, again, he had two assists and two turnovers. 1 to 1.

      • A. Biggers says:

        He was a junior last year. Those were the games I cited. I don’t remember many from his sophomore season, I’d have to look them up.

        I’m not fully disagreeing with you, but I think a slow start, after an injury at that, isn’t enough to judge Lucas’ senior year.

      • Jared Field says:

        I’m not judging his senior year. I’m just tracking his propensity to put up pretty poor pg numbers in big games. Nothing more.

  5. Cinderella says:

    he had 28 against wash

  6. J says:

    I really think you should have waited before publishing an article like this. He shouldn’t even be playing because of his achilles injury; it is amazing that he’s even on the floor, so this is basically just a reprint of your article last year.

    • A. Biggers says:

      But his propensity to not put up in big games is sort of limited to this year. If you look at his track record, Kalin Lucas shows up in big games. Just not this year, except against UW.

      I get a little overzealous when it comes to MSU basketball sometimes, and I’m not saying you’re not right. The turnover ratio stat is enough to shut even me up. Good post.

      • Jared Field says:

        Actually, the whole point of the post was to question whether or not he was continuing his lackluster play in big games from last season.

        Look at last season in big games:

        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.

        If you think that’s good for a player of his talent, then I don’t know what to say. More turnovers than assists is just unacceptable.

        If he was just an average player, there be nothing to say. He’s not an average player. He’s an elite athlete who can be great, but has a track record of being not-so-great in big games.

        I mean, is it unfair to point this out?

  7. […] 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 […]

  8. Sloc says:

    Jared, I agree and have been saying this since, YES, his Sophomore year. He was the worst Big 10 Player of the year of all time. He won the award cause he was the best player on the best team in an average Big 10 where no one stood out.

    The only big game where he’s truly been “BIG” is against Kansas 2 years ago in the tournament. And I don’t even think thats such a great feat because Sherron Collins is 5-11. He went undrafted. He’s a nice college player, not a pro level talent like everyone seems to think Lucas is… Which brings me to my next point

    How is Lucas going to be a good NBA player, or a 1st round pick like the Sparty homers think, if he continues to get torched by other big name PGs in college? Don’t tell me 14 points was good against Duke. Lucas gave up 30+ to FRESHMAN Kyrie Irving… Scoop Jardine murdered MSU as well, and the list goes on and on.

    And don’t tell me about his achillies… does his achillies effect his passing? It’s not like MSUs turnover problems just started since his injury. This team has been turnover prone since he’s been at the school.

    I’ve already gone on long enough… I could go all day.

    • Patrick Hayes says:

      “He won the award cause he was the best player on the best team in an average Big 10 where no one stood out. ”

      Why is that his fault though? What’s he supposed to do? Turn down the award?

      “The only big game where he’s truly been “BIG” is against Kansas 2 years ago in the tournament.”

      He’s had others that have been good. See here: https://greatlakeshoops.com/2010/12/09/rebuttal-the-bashing-of-kalin-lucas-on-glh-ends-now

      “He’s a nice college player, not a pro level talent like everyone seems to think Lucas is”

      Collins did make the Bobcats as a rookie free agent and had a nice preseason/summer league. Not sure if he’ll make it in the league long-term, but he’s a pro level talent.

      “How is Lucas going to be a good NBA player, or a 1st round pick like the Sparty homers think, if he continues to get torched by other big name PGs in college?”

      As long as he continues to progress from injury, he’ll get a shot in the NBA. ESPN, NBA Draft.net and DraftExpress all currently still have him as a mid second round pick.

      The NBA is a point guard league right now. Guys like Lucas who are productive in college, and yes, he is productive whether he’s overrated as you say or not, will get a chance as long as his health isn’t a big question.

  9. A. Biggers says:

    @ Jared: No, it’s not unfair to point that out. In fact, it’s good that you did, because many are under the impression that Kalin Lucas is some sort star, which he is, but they base that impression on what he’s done, and not what he’s doing.

    I’m not knocking you for bringing Lucas’ shortcomings to attention. I think it’s fair. I’ll admit, I’m a huge Spartan fan, but I’m not one of those guys who thinks Lucas is more than what he is: A good, but not overly impressive college point guard. And Patrick is right, Lucas will get a shot at the NBA. I’ve seen the projected draft boards, and Lucas, along with Durrell Summers, is slated to go in the mid-to-late second round.

    Now, if you asked me two years ago, I would have said “Lucas is only going to get better.”

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