Veteran point guard John Lucas III has been one of the preseason’s bright spots for the Utah Jazz.
In two games before Saturday night’s exhibition against the Los Angeles Clippers at EnergySolutions Arena, Lucas scored 19 points against Golden State and Portland.
"He’s a fire-bug," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "He can make shots and he plays the game the right way. We need his energy and leadership."
Lucas made six of his 12 field-goal attempts in games against Golden State and Portland, including 3 for 3 from the 3-point line.
"He’s a little guy who’s used to being little," Corbin said. "He knows how to create space for himself and he has a quick release."
Lucas’ father, John, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1976 draft. He spent 14 seasons in the NBA and coached San Antonio, Philadelphia and Cleveland.
"I talk to him every day," Lucas III said. "He’s my best friend."
What do they discuss?
"He just tells me pick and choose when to attack because I’ve always been a scoring point guard," Lucas III said. "But now I’ve found balance [is important]. That’s one thing I’ve worked on worked on — balance — because the offense we have here, everybody’s an option."
According to Lucas III, his father’s best advice over the years has been staying true to himself.
"A lot of coaches growing up [said], ‘You’re a two-guard, you’re a two-guard,’ " he explained. "But I was a point guard with the ability to put the ball in the hole and my dad always said, ‘Don’t let anybody tell you who you are. You know who you are.’ "
New coach Rivers still adjusting to L.A.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers made his first stop in Utah since leaving Boston during the offseason.
With Chris Paul and Blake Griffin as the foundation, he takes over a team with legitimate championship aspirations.
"It’s going good," River said. "It’s only rained once. No snow. If our season goes like the weather, then we’ll be really good. But we have a lot to do. There’s no doubt about that. But it’s been a good change."
Asked about looking at the Clippers bench and seeing Rivers, Corbin laughed.
"It’s a little different," the Jazz coach said. "It’s fun, though. It’s part of this league. He’s had a great run in Boston and now he’s with a great team in L.A. He’s got great talent-level. They are going to be tough to compete against."
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