Free agent profile: Sebastian Telfair
This is the 37th post in a series of free-agent profiles that analyzes particular players and how they might fit in with the Lakers.
Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Sebastian Telfair
Type of free agent: unrestricted
Positive: Telfair is never going to round into the player many thought he would become when the Portland Trail Blazers selected him with the 13th pick in the 2004 draft. Back then, he was considered a star within Rucker Park. Now he's almost seen as an NBA journeyman at age 26, playing with six teams in seven seasons.
It'd be unrealistic to think Telfair could suddenly blossom into an elite point guard poised to make the All-Star team and resemble Derrick Rose. Although that would make for one heck of a steal, Telfair's track record indicates that won't happen: He has averaged 7.8 points on 39.1% shooting in his career. But with the Lakers facing strapped finances and limited options in upgrading at point guard, Telfair could be a decent addition.
Though he's not an elite player, he's not a bad one, either. He could relieve Derek Fisher and Steve Blake of heavy minutes, a necessity to keep that unit accountable and well-rested for the postseason. He is a steady ballhandler and interestingly enough, Lakers Coach Mike Brown loved Telfair's professionalism when he coached him at Cleveland during the 2009-2010 season despite Telfair's appearing in only four games after being acquired from the Clippers in a three-team trade.
Negative: Telfair has really yet to establish any reliable niche. It's not just about reacting to team dynamics, however, though that will be an issue playing on a talent-laden Lakers squad. Simply put, Telfair doesn't shoot well. He's a sub-40 percent shooter for his career. Last season, Telfair shot poorly, whether it was from shots 3 to 9 feet from the basket (32.3%), shots from 10 to 15 feet (36.4%) or shots from 16 to 23 feet (16%), according to HoopData.com. The Lakers are in dire need of strong shooters;signing Telfair would probably only add to the woes.
Verdict: This isn't a great option. But given the weak free agent market and the limited options, it's understandable for the Lakers to pick up low-risk players. But Telfair doesn't fit that description simply because his trigger-happy tendencies offset any positive qualities he brings.
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Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryantrises above Minnesota point guard Sebastian Telfair for a short-range shot. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press / March 6, 2009