Lance Stephenson has gone through a lot of trouble. Not only his recent trouble brought attention, but he was also in the news for negative actions he made like what he did in high school and college. On the court, he’s a future prodigy. Off the court, he is a self-made bum and thug. In the words of Sebestian Telfair, he needs to man-up on his actions.
Since the recent news happened of him assaulting his girlfriend, many thoughts swirled around journalists and bloggers who say that he should be released. Many say that would be the best move to be made by Larry Bird. Since becoming the general manager of the Pacers, Bird has gone through some of the toughest times in the team’s history.
He brought in players that were trouble for the team off the court. Their talent was excellent, but their attitude and off-the-hardwood issues would affect the team in chemistry and most importantly the win-loss column. Some of the players that came to mind were Stephen Jackson, Jamaal Tinsley, Ron Artest, Shawne Williams, David Harrison, and a few others. Since then, only three players have been on a decent road. Jackson is now helping out the Charlotte Bobcats to another playoff-appearance after a good road last year with head coach Larry Brown, Jamaal Tinsley is now helpful back-up to the Memphis Grizzlies, and Ron Artest is the defensive force and leader at small forward for the Los Angeles Lakers. He also just won the Finals with them. As for Shawne Williams, he just got arrested about a month ago while David Harrison is in the China Basketball League trying to re-fix himself.
But then came Lance Stephenson. He was projected a late-round draft-pick. Stephenson was said, “Born Ready” by Dime Mag and that he could be a future NBA-star already at just 17-year-old. Now at age 19, Stephenson is in a tough situation. After Indy got a steal with him in the second-round at the 40th overall pick, things look to go bad with his recent arrest. Stephenson was performing great in the Summer League. He was projected to be the starting point guard. Then, just about a week ago, Indy made a trade for James Posey and Darren Collison while giving up Troy Murphy. With this, Collison would easily start at point guard while Posey will be a role-player. As for Stephenson, he will be helping out off the bench as a great two-guard. Then came his arrest.
So it all goes down to this: Should the Pacers cut Stephenson. Such bloggers say yes as it would be a good decision by Larry Bird. His attitude and off-the-court issues will affect the Pacers. In my honest and humble opinon. Indiana should just keep him. Now many would disagree, since the Pacers tried this before because of the players’ talent. I know, I know, it still wasn’t good enough for Indy though. But this is Lance Stephenson. When guys like Tinsley and Jackson did what they did, they weren’t young anymore. They were big and young adults who were already in their mid-20′s. Stephenson hasn’t even hit 20 years of age yet.
Stephenson has the talent people would die for. The least the Pacers could do is just cut playing time for him but not go as far to release him, though, or trade him. Everyone makes mistakes, and Stephenson has made a bunch of them. But there is hope for the future. Stephenson could go into counseling. If he were older, I would say cut him. But he’s too young. It’s similar to what happened with Michael Beasley as David Kahn said he wouldn’t go for him if he were in his mid-20′s. Stephenson brings hope for the future because of his talent. He could develop into a great sixth man or maybe a star soon.
In his rookie season, it’s too much for him. Lance knows the consequences already. Bird knows what happened in the past, but maybe this time it could be a good decision that was made by keeping a player that has made some negative actions. There is a lot of hope for the future with this team and Stephenson.
Keep him for now.
Maybe in a few years, Bird can look back on this and say this was a good decision.