John Lucas II

John Lucas II
Houston Rockets
Position Assistant coach
Player development coach
League NBA
Personal information
Born (1953-10-31) October 31, 1953
Durham, North Carolina
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Listed weight 175 lb (79 kg)
Career information
High school Hillside (Durham, North Carolina)
College Maryland (1972–1976)
NBA draft 1976 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Houston Rockets
Playing career 1976–1990
Position Point guard
Number 15, 4, 5, 10, 20
Coaching career 1992–2010
Career history
As player:
19761978 Houston Rockets
19781981 Golden State Warriors
19811983 Washington Bullets
1983 Lancaster Lightning
1983–1984 San Antonio Spurs
19841986 Houston Rockets
19861988 Milwaukee Bucks
1988–1989 Seattle SuperSonics
1989–1990 Houston Rockets
As coach:
1992 Miami Tropics
1992–1993 San Antonio Spurs
1993 Miami Tropics
1993–1994 San Antonio Spurs
19941996 Philadelphia 76ers
19982001 Denver Nuggets (assistant)
20012003 Cleveland Cavaliers
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)
Assists 6,454 (7.0 apg)
Steals 1,273 (1.4 spg)
Stats at

John Harding Lucas II (born October 31, 1953) is a retired American professional basketball player and coach. He currently works as the player development coach of the Houston Rockets. He played college basketball for Maryland.

Basketball playing career and substance abuse

Lucas attended the University of Maryland where he was an All-American in basketball. Lucas was a Second-team All-American for the excellent 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 in 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.

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 teammates with the Rockets, 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.

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.


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.[3]

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.[4]

In July 2016, Lucas joined the Houston Rockets as a player development coach.[5]

Head coaching record

Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win-loss %
Post season PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win-loss %
Team Year G W L WL% Finish PG PW PL PWL% Result
San Antonio 1992–93 613922.6392nd in Midwest1055.500 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
San Antonio 1993–94 825527.6712nd in Midwest413.250 Lost in First Round
Philadelphia 1994–95 822458.2936th in Atlantic Missed playoffs
Philadelphia 1995–96 821864.2207th in Atlantic Missed playoffs
Cleveland 2001–02 822953.3547th in Central Missed playoffs
Cleveland 2002–03 42834.190(fired)
Career 431173258.401 1468.429


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.[6] His best singles result was a 4-6, 4-6 loss to John Austin. Lucas's career high ranking was becoming World No. 579 in singles in December 1979.[7] (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 transsexual 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 her.[8]

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


Lucas's elder son John Lucas, 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


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