Nov. 16, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson (1) shoots an outside jumper during the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers won 103-83. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Lance Stephenson Continues to Improve

This week’s Pacer feature is Lance Stephenson. Here’s  a guy that I didn’t know what to make of when he first got drafted.  Even his rookie season, there were some issues with his maturity and whether he fit into the team. But coming into this season, it sounded like he had things in the right direction and his game would come around to fit what the Pacers are doing.  That first couple of years, he played recklessly in the limited time he saw.  Also, there was a bit of trepidation as he played since he knew he was only getting a few minutes.  But I do remember going to last season’s finale against the Bulls, and Stephenson put together a good game.  He looked to be so confident out there, and his game was strengthened because of it.

There might not be much stat stuffing to Stephenson’s game, but he looks to be the best fit for the starting line up as the Pacers were going through Gerald Green and Sam Young auditions.  Lance Stephenson got inserted and the line up become solidified.  He has been putting up 7 points per game on 50% shooting.  He may not be the scoring machine that some shooting guards are, but he does what he can for the Pacers.

That’s probably the best part about Stephenson as he’s grown into this better player.  You can see that growth.  He looks to make better passes.  He’ll step into taking a shot, which I don’t think you saw early on.  He’s grown confident in his three point ability.  Through this month of December, he’s shooting 44% from three.  If he can be count on for those open shots, this Pacers team can become even better.  I would look for Stephenson to continue to grow, and people can see what Larry Bird was saying about how much potential Stephenson has.  If Bird is saying, there has to be some truth behind it. Stephenson is finally earning that “Born Ready” nickname with his play this season.

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