John Lucas II
John Harding Lucas II (born October 31, 1953) is an American professional basketball coach and former player who is the player development coach of the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played basketball and tennis at the University of Maryland, College Park and was an All-American in both.
|Position||Player development coach|
|Born||October 31, 1953|
Durham, North Carolina
|Listed height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Listed weight||175 lb (79 kg)|
|High school||Hillside (Durham, North Carolina)|
|NBA draft||1976 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall|
|Selected by the Houston Rockets|
|Number||15, 4, 5, 10, 20|
|1978–1981||Golden State Warriors|
|1983–1984||San Antonio Spurs|
|1992–1993||San Antonio Spurs|
|1993–1994||San Antonio Spurs|
|1998–2001||Denver Nuggets (assistant)|
|2009||Nigeria national team|
|2009–2010||Los Angeles Clippers (assistant)|
|2016–present||Houston Rockets (assistant)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||9,951 (10.7 ppg)|
|Rebounds||2,151 (2.3 rpg)|
|Assists||6,454 (7.0 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Playing career and substance abuseEdit
Lucas attended the University of Maryland where he was an All-American in basketball. Lucas was a Second-team All-American for the Terrapins team in 1973-74, along with his teammates Len Elmore and Tom McMillen. The Terrapins had a record of 23-5 in the regular season, and 9-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). However, they lost during the ACC Tournament, and they could not go to the NCAA Tournament. Elmore and McMillan graduated in 1974, but in the following 1974-75 season, Lucas was a First-team All-American. The Terrapins recorded a 24-5 regular season record, 10-2 in the ACC, and they won the ACC regular season crown. However, they lost to NC State in the semifinals of the ACC tournament. The NCAA tournament, however, had been expanded to include 32 teams. Also, for the first time, more than one team per conference was allowed into the tournament. Maryland gained entry and advanced to the Elite Eight before losing to Louisville.
In the 1975-76 season, Lucas was a First-team All-American once again. The Terrapins recorded a 22-6 regular season record, 7-5 in the ACC, but they lost out in the ACC Tournament and did not make the NCAA Tournament. Then, following this senior season, Lucas was the first overall pick of the 1976 NBA draft, selected by the Houston Rockets. He was also drafted by the New York Nets of the American Basketball Association.
However, the following off-season, Lucas's basketball career took a turn for the worse when longstanding problems with illegal drugs became public. Several of his Rockets teammates, including Mitchell Wiggins and Lewis Lloyd, were banished from the NBA due to positive tests for cocaine usage. Lucas, who was also a cocaine user (and an alcoholic), submitted voluntarily to anti-drug and anti-alcohol treatment in order to stay in the league. After failing two tests in the 1985-86 season, the Rockets waived him in March, which meant he missed out on the run the Rockets had all the way to the NBA Finals. Lucas was finally given another chance in January 1987 when he was signed to a ten-day contract by the Milwaukee Bucks that led to a full contract for the rest of the season.
Lucas played four more years in the NBA, averaging at age 33 a career-high 17.5 points in 1986–87, before settling into a reserve role the next three years.
After successfully undergoing drug rehabilitation and starting programs of his own to help other athletes rehabilitate, Lucas returned to the NBA as a coach, eventually becoming a head coach.
Lucas runs a wellness and aftercare substance-abuse recovery program for athletes.
He has coached the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers, each for less than two seasons, compiling a 174–258 overall coaching record. His most successful stint was with the Spurs. In 1992–93, he took over from Jerry Tarkanian (9-11) and went 39–22 the rest of the season, and reached the Western Conference semi-finals. The next year the Spurs finished 55–27 but lost in the first round of playoffs.
Prior to accepting the head coaching position for the Cavs, he was assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets for three seasons.
Lucas was hired for the 2009–10 NBA season as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers under head coach Mike Dunleavy.
In July 2016, Lucas joined the Houston Rockets as a player development coach.
Head coaching recordEdit
|Regular season||G||Games coached||W||Games won||L||Games lost||W–L %||Win–loss %|
|Playoffs||PG||Playoff games||PW||Playoff wins||PL||Playoff losses||PW–L %||Playoff win–loss %|
|San Antonio||1992–93||61||39||22||.639||2nd in Midwest||10||5||5||.500||Lost in Conf. Semifinals|
|San Antonio||1993–94||82||55||27||.671||2nd in Midwest||4||1||3||.250||Lost in First Round|
|Philadelphia||1994–95||82||24||58||.293||6th in Atlantic||—||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|Philadelphia||1995–96||82||18||64||.220||7th in Atlantic||—||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|Cleveland||2001–02||82||29||53||.354||7th in Central||—||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
Lucas was not only a standout basketball player, but also a standout tennis player. An All-American in the sport while at Maryland, he won ACC number one singles championship twice in 1974 and 1976, before being named the McKelvin Award winner as the conference's top all-around athlete. Lucas competed in two Grand Prix tennis tournaments in 1973, another in 1979, and a challenger event in 1979. His best result was reaching the semi-finals of the challenger in Raleigh, North Carolina, partnering Fred McNair. He won one other tour match, by default in doubles in 1973 in Merion, Pennsylvania while partnering Vic Seixas. He lost all four of the singles first round matches which he contested, and in straight sets. His best singles result was a 4-6, 4-6 loss to John Austin. Lucas's career high ranking was 579th, in singles in December 1979. (Doubles computer rankings were not officially kept until the early 1980s.)
Lucas also played World Team Tennis with the San Francisco Golden Gaters in 1976, and the New Orleans Sun Belt Nets in 1978. He and Renée Richards had success teaming up as the Nets' regular mixed-doubles team in 1978. The 6'1" Richards was delighted to have a male partner who was taller than she was.
- 1975 New York Nets draft page at DatabaseBasketball.com Archived May 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- SEVENTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP -- 1974 Archived January 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- Johnson, Roy S. (January 15, 1987). "Rockets Discuss Drug Temptation". The New York Times.
- "How OCD almost ended one NBA player's career before it began". August 22, 2018. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
- Ford's biggest hurdle was all mental
- John Lucas to join Rockets organization
- ATP profile page
- Richards, Renée; Ames, John (2007). No Way Renée: The Second Half of My Notorious Life. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-9013-5. LCCN 2006052252.