Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Birthday: June 9, 1985
Experience: 8 years
Draft: 2004, 13th overall by Portland
2012-13 Salary: $1,567,500
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Consult our advanced stats page for a glossary and discussion of the preceding metrics.
Season Outlook: Sebastian Telfair played his best season as a pro in 2011-12, according to Suns head coach Alvin Gentry, yet after Steve Nash departed he watched the team draft Kendall Marshall in the lottery and sign free agent Goran Dragic. It was a foregone conclusion Dragic would start once the ink was dry on his deal, but Telfair won the backup job entering the season after a training camp battle against Marshall that Telfair said would be a “war.” Telfair has always been a much better player when he’s competing, so expect him to give Marshall everything he can handle throughout the season regardless of who the primary backup is at a given time.
I’ve always thought that Telfair would win the job to start the season but that the Suns’ rookie would eventually usurp the position. Such is life in the NBA for first-round backups. They will get every opportunity that a career journeyman like Telfair won’t necessarily receive. However, as things stand entering the season the New York native is the primary backup.
Telfair hopes to build on his stellar April and a season in which he proved to be a capable mid-range jump shooter for the first time in his career thanks to becoming more diligent in his film study and working on shots he actually takes in games. Expect the eight-year vet to provide solid backup point guard play while enjoying an even better year in 2012-13. — Michael Schwartz
Biography: Sebastian Telfair’s basketball career has been one of big leaps and hard landings. Telfair was a standout at Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, N.Y. His senior season was chronicled in Jonathan Hock’s documentary Through the Fire. Telfair was selected with the 13th overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2004.
In two seasons with Portland, he was in and out of the starting lineup, but never truly lived up to the expectations of a lottery pick. Portland failed to make the playoffs in either year, and Telfair was traded to the Boston Celtics in 2006. Following another season in which he failed to make an impression, he was packaged with four other players and two first-round picks and sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the trade that brought Kevin Garnett to Boston.
The following season was the best of Telfair’s career. He started 51 games and averaged 9.3 points to go along with nearly six assists per game. After the season, the Timberwolves signed him to a three-year deal. The 2008-09 campaign went much like his first year in Minnesota, but the team struggled mightily, and he was traded once again in June of 2009, to the Los Angeles Clippers. Telfair started only one game for the Clippers before he was dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers as a part of the midseason trade that brought Antawn Jamison to Cleveland. Telfair appeared in only four games for the Cavs and was traded back to Minnesota in the offseason.
Last year, he appeared in 37 games for the Timberwolves, averaging 7.3 points and 3 assists per game. He signed a one-year deal with the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 9, 2011, worth $1.5 million with a partial guarantee for 2012-13.
Links to ValleyoftheSuns coverage of Telfair: