John Lucas II

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John Lucas II
John Lucas II.jpg
Houston Rockets
PositionAssistant head coach
Personal information
Born (1953-10-31) October 31, 1953 (age 67)
Durham, North Carolina
Listed height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Listed weight175 lb (79 kg)
Career information
High schoolHillside (Durham, North Carolina)
CollegeMaryland (1972–1976)
NBA draft1976 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Houston Rockets
Playing career1976–1990
PositionPoint guard
Number15, 4, 5, 10, 20
Coaching career1992–present
Career history
As player:
19761978Houston Rockets
19781981Golden State Warriors
19811983Washington Bullets
1983Lancaster Lightning
1983–1984San Antonio Spurs
19841986Houston Rockets
19861988Milwaukee Bucks
1988–1989Seattle SuperSonics
1989–1990Houston Rockets
As coach:
1992Miami Tropics
19921994San Antonio Spurs
19941996Philadelphia 76ers
19982001Denver Nuggets (assistant)
20012003Cleveland Cavaliers
2009–2010Los Angeles Clippers (assistant)
2016–presentHouston Rockets (player development)
Career highlights and awards
As player:

As coach:

Career NBA statistics
Points9,951 (10.7 ppg)
Assists6,454 (7.0 apg)
Steals1,273 (1.4 spg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at

John Harding Lucas II (born October 31, 1953) is an American professional basketball coach and former player. He serves as 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.

Playing career and substance abuse[edit]

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.[1]

Lucas played for the US national team in the 1974 FIBA World Championship, winning the bronze medal.[2]

Lucas played in the NBA for fourteen years and was a member of the 1986 Houston Rockets team that made it to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Boston Celtics. After failing two tests in the 1985–86 season, the Rockets waived Lucas in March, which meant he missed out on the playoff run the Rockets had all the way to the NBA Finals. Lucas was 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.[3]

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.[4]

Coaching career[edit]

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 worked with Indiana Pacers guard T. J. Ford in Houston after the guard sustained a neck injury from a hard foul from Atlanta's Al Horford.[5]

Lucas was hired for the 2009–10 NBA season as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers under head coach Mike Dunleavy.

Lucas began working with former NFL first round pick JaMarcus Russell in 2010 as a life coach, but ceased this role in April 2011.[6]

In July 2016, Lucas joined the Houston Rockets as a player development coach.[7]

Head coaching record[edit]

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 %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
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
Cleveland 2002–03 42 8 34 .190 (fired)
Career 431 173 258 .401 14 6 8 .429

Tennis career[edit]

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.[8] 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.[9] (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.[10]

In 2005, Lucas was the head coach of the Houston Wranglers, which featured Steffi Graf and Mardy Fish.

Personal life[edit]

Lucas's elder son John Lucas III played college basketball at Oklahoma State, and has been a member of several NBA teams. His younger son, Jai, played college basketball at the University of Texas.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1975 New York Nets draft page at Archived May 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ SEVENTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP -- 1974 Archived January 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Johnson, Roy S. (January 15, 1987). "Rockets Discuss Drug Temptation". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "How OCD almost ended one NBA player's career before it began". August 22, 2018. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  5. ^ Ford's biggest hurdle was all mental
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ John Lucas to join Rockets organization
  8. ^
  9. ^ ATP profile page
  10. ^ 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.

External links[edit]