A playground legend in New York City, many considered the dynamic dribbler the best guard in the 2004 draft, but he fell on draft night because he lacked the basic fundamental skills that scouts desired from a point guard. Four years later, Telfair hasn't perhaps lived up to his pre-draft hype, but he has become a very efficient guard and leader.
At 6-0", 160 lbs, Telfair is a little scrawny for NBA standards, but he has utilized the quickness his small frame allows him to his advantage. Telfair is lightning quick off the dribble and he is one of the fastest players in the game. His ability to find ways to adapt to the pro game has shown that Telfair can certainly find his niche in the league.
Early in his career, Telfair barely had a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio but has stepped up his game this year and has an impressive 3.2 A/T ratio. On the season, Telfair is dishing out just under 6 assists a game, which is impressive considering that Minnesota is low on offensive weapons aside from Al Jefferson. With spectacular ball handling skills and a desire to always play up-tempo, Telfair has learned to slow down his game, which is a large reason for his improvement.
Offensively, Telfair isn't a particularly difficult assignment because he is a poor shooter from long range. Hitting on just 28% of his three-point attempts, opponents can back off of Telfair and that will neutralize some of his speed and effectiveness. Off the dribble, Telfair is amongst the league's best at penetrating into the paint but a consistent shot would certainly help elevate his scoring.
Defensively, Telfair has improved gradually thoughout his career and is a respectable defender. He is averaging a steal per game and has done a solid job of keeping players in front of him. Being a little undersized, Telfair can struggle at times when guarding bigger guards, but his speed allows him to take advantage of those same players on the other end of the court.
Earlier this season, Telfair faced the Magic and had just four points, four assists and two turnovers, but his play has gotten better and better as the season has progressed. Telfair has been out for the last month with an ankle injury, but is expected to come back against Orlando and avenge a poor performance in November. Telfair will go up against thicker guards Carlos Arroyo and Jameer Nelson and with an ankle sprain, he might not be able to fully tap into his speed, which could cause a problem for the Timberwolves.
Telfair has battled for a spot in the NBA for the past four years of his career and amongst plenty of criticism, he has discovered that sometimes slower and under more control is better. This new found patience has came at a perfect time for Telfair, who will be a free agent this summer and will possibly look to find a new home where he can continue his resurgence.
Flying Under the Radar: Sebastian Telfair
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