Player Profiles, Ep. 4: Seeking Redemption

Name: Sebastian Telfair
Position: Point Guard
Age: 26
Size: 6’0” 165 lbs
College: Abraham Lincoln High School
NBA Experience: 7 years

2010/11 Stat-line: 19.2 MPG/7.2 PPG (13.5 per 36)/3.0 APG (5.6 per 36)/0.7 SPG (1.3 per 36)/.402 FG%/.359% 3PT%/.733 FT%

If you follow my twitter feed (and that of most Suns bloggers and fans), you will notice that when Sebastian Telfair’s signing was announced, the entire blogosphere went up in a collective “NOOOOOOOOO” or *sigh*. In a summer with a few actually servicable point guards available (see, T.J. Ford), the Suns went for one that is one of the faces of busts in the NBA. So much so, that when I first typed his name into google looking to confirm the then-rumours, one of the suggestions that came up was “Sebastian Telfair bust.” And it’s unsurprising, really, given how highly he was touted coming out of high school.  In many other drafts, a 13th pick wouldn’t be called a bust, but when you’re chosen ahead of Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, J.R. Smith and Anderson Varejao, you can expect some overly critical looks.

The truth is not everyone is made to succeed in the NBA, and Bassy hasn’t found his groove as of yet. However, if there’s anywhere he can make amends with the game of basketball and get his career back on the right track, it’s Phoenix. The system fits a quick guard with an affinity (thus far only stated) for pick-and-rolls, and some three point shooting ability.

If you look at Bassy’s stat line, it’s all rather average. He’s a weak version of a jack of all trades, not really efficient or skilled in any single type of a play. His shooting is OK, but not really efficient, his defence is OK, but not quite as stellar as Ronnie Price’s, his passing… You see where I’m going with this, right? He’s not quite a bona fide scrub, but he’s closer to that than being sixth man of the year material, or so his career says thus far.

That said, he’s only 26. Sure, he’s been in the NBA since 2004, but the kid skipped college, something that might’ve killed a lot of his potential. He was also constantly stuck in unfriendly systems, especially last year in Minnesota with Kurt Rambis’ aberration of a triangle offense. There are a lot of guys who needed a few seasons to get to another level, and while nobody guarantees this will happen with Bassy, he’s a low-risk signing at this point. The one year he has on his contract won’t hurt anyone.

That said, I do have a few complaints and grievances about Bassy. When playing in the intra-squad scrimmage, he looked lost. Trying to create off the pick and roll against a rather good D with Marcin Gortat manning the middle is never a good idea, but he couldn’t seem to get going at all. Forcing things is not the way to go in the Phoenix system. Still, it was only a scrimmage, so don’t panic.

If I had to choose my backup point right now, it’d be Ronnie Price. Ronnie’s a better defender, seems more confident, and less, well… angsty than Bassy. However, the biggest test will come in the preseason games against Denver, and I guarantee you, the two point guards (given that Nash will probably be resting) battling it out will be a big point of focus for me.

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Tags: 2011-12 Nba Season Phoenix Suns Player Previews Player Profiles Sebastian Telfair Suns

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