Toronto Raptors: Reviewing How Sebastian Telfair Will Affect the Raptors
While the NBA Trade Deadline was extremely anticlimactic, several deals were made to improve teams across the league. In a report by ESPN.com, the Toronto Raptors acquired Phoenix Suns point guard Sebastian Telfair in an effort to stabilize the backcourt. Let's see what effect he might have on the team.
Telfair averaged 6.0 points and 2.5 assists for the Suns this season, all in a stable 17.3 minutes per game. He started just two games, so inserting him as a reserve behind Kyle Lowry will pose no issues.
One slightly alarming aspect of Telfair's game has always been his offense. He shoots just 39.2 percent for his career, and doesn't possess a reliable jump shot either. Telfair has converted on 30 percent or more from three-point range just five times in his 10-year career.
However, three of those five occasions have transpired in his last three years as a pro. Telfair has developed his shot to the point that it could be called solid—shooting 38.1 percent this season. He's knocking down 0.9 threes per game, which will fit nicely into Toronto's offense.
Courtesy of NBA.com's advanced statistics, Telfair is 36 percent from mid-range and from above-the-break threes, with a 45 percent clip coming on the corner three. With offensive distribution percentages of 27.9, 33.6 and 11.7 from the aforementioned areas of the floor respectively, it points to his continued improvement as a shooter.
Yet with a plethora of offensive players like Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, Telfair will not be relied upon for his offense. He is, however, a great defender at point guard.
Will the inclusion of Telfair improve the Raptors?
According to 82games.com, Telfair holds opponents to a 12.2 PER. The league average is an even 15.00, thus keeping point guards to that low of a statistical rating is stellar. In a team concept, Telfair's squad holds opponents to 104.2 points per 100 possessions. This vastly contrasts the 111.1 points when he is on the bench.
The Raptors have an already great defensive backcourt consisting of Lowry and DeRozan. Throwing Telfair into the mix as a reserve makes them even more potent and will be extremely helpful in a point-guard-laden Eastern Conference.
Telfair won't be expected to dramatically alter what Toronto does as a team. He is a complimentary piece to take some pressure of the guards, and should do a great job in a role that has less responsibility than his place with Phoenix.
He will likely battle John Lucas III for minutes as a reserve point guard, but should get the edge due to his experience.
Either way, it is a low-risk acquisition for the Raptors that should ultimately pay off. The entire organization is committed to returning back to the playoffs, and while Telfair is not a huge piece to the puzzle, he can certainly help on both ends of the floor.
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