Sebastian Telfair: Ready to Emerge from the Fire

Peter FleischerSenior Writer IMay 26, 2008

I'll admit it—I've been hooked on Bassy for a while now.

Ever since I learned and read about the young baller from Brooklyn, I've been addicted to his charisma, charm and flair. When he was traded to my Boston Celtics on draft day a couple years ago, I was in heaven. 

But it hasn't been all smooth sailing for Sebastian.

He struggled in his first two seasons in Portland with the Blazers, but honestly, who could blame him. He had no support, no role models to learn from, and a terrible introduction to the league in general.

Still, after his second season in the league, Telfair was showing promise at the ripe age of 20. Given a chance to shine, he averaged 9.5 PPG and 3.6 APG.

However, he struggled in the Northeast. His road wasn't great in Boston, where the team suffered their worst season ever last year, losing 18 straight games at one point and being completely decimated by injuries.

After Bassy had a falling out with head coach Doc Rivers at the end of the season centering around his arrest for a concealed weapon, Telfair's days in Celtic green were clearly done after only one tumultuous season.

His last chance arrived in the form of a blockbuster trade, when he was shipped to Minnesota as a part of the Kevin Garnett deal. And it appears that Telfair has used that chance to prove to the doubters that he can indeed play in the NBA.

Limited to just 60 games because of an ankle injury (the first serious injury of his career), Telfair averaged over nine points, and almost six assists a game.

May I remind you, the majority of his numbers came when Randy Foye was out at the beginning of the year. Who was he distributing the ball to exactly? Al Jefferson and who? Rashad McCants and Co. only score so much, so he's clearly finding his 'mates when they're open.

Sebastian will turn 23 over the summer, and is an unrestricted free agent. His salary commanded almost $2.6 million this summer, less than a half of what the likes of other point guards such as Eric Snow, Mike James, Speedy Claxton, and his teammate Marko Jaric are making.

The potential still oozes from Telfair when he has a chance to show his talent without being yanked off the court on a short leash. And who has he really gotten a chance to learn from? Damon Stoudemire? Delonte West?

I think he is definitely worth the money that he's making, and maybe more. As a backup point guard he is more than serviceable, and his game is still certainly improving. He also can provide excitement, dropping beautiful dimes at the snap of a finger.

I'm not sure if Telfair will end up back in Minny, because both sides seem lukewarm about the other. And I definitely don't see him return to NY and being the Knick's PG, contrary to rumors. Not behind, Jamal Crawford, Fred Jones, Nate Robinson and cousin Steph Marbury.

I wouldn't be surprised to see him end up in Sacramento or New Jersey. Sac-Town has little to no PG depth, and has shown that it won't shy away from players with character questions (Artest).

NJ is partially owned by Jay-Z, and the two are still close from Telfair's days in high school. They also don't have a solid backup behind Devin Harris, and Harris is more of a scorer anyway, which might be perfect to complement Sebastian's assists.

I think the ideal place for him might be Atlanta. The "A" is a basketball city, and Telfair is a fun guy to watch when he's on. He'd be perfect in the up-tempo style the Hawks run, and could learn from Mike Bibby. I also think he'll have a better career than Acie Law.

I wrote this article because a lot of people give me crap for liking him so much, but it's not fair to write off Bassy just yet. When my friends poked fun at me for comparing Ty Lawson to Telfair, I defended the comparison, saying Telfair is NOT a bad player!

It seems that he'll always be limited by poor jumping and lack of height, but Telfair definitely has the chance to be fun player in the league, if not as a starter then as a backup.

Give him some time to learn under a seasoned floor veteran people! Put him on a team that isn't completely terrible! Only then will people truly be able to say whether he's a draft bust or not.