May 30, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson (1) drives against Miami Heat power forward Chris Andersen (11) and center Chris Bosh (1) during the first half in game five of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Off Season: Lance Stephenson Coming to Play Hard


Once again, the Indy Star has really nailed home a great article with Lance Stephenson talking about expectations of this coming season, and what his role will be.  One question in particular will catch the attention of Pacer fans, and I’ll give out my thoughts on it once you read it here.

“Q:Despite having an outstanding season, there’s been a lot of speculation you may go back to coming off the bench this season, especially if Danny Granger is healthy and ready. Would you be OK with that?

A: I’m just coming in to play hard. Whatever coach (Frank Vogel) decides to do, I think it’s a great decision. Me coming off the bench, Danny coming off the bench, either way, we’re deep. Whatever helps the team, that’s what I want to do.”

Now I understand what else is Stephenson supposed to say.  But then again, some guys might be vocal, and state they were the starter last year, so they expect to be the starter this season.  With this Pacers team, I’ve gone back and forth on which guy is the starter, Lance Stephenson or Danny Granger, but with the aquistion of Luis Scola, the answer looks to be definite now.  Danny Granger jumps back into that starting role, and Lance Stephenson will come off the bench.  When you look at that bench, and you see that you would have C.J. Watson at point, Luis Scola at power forward, and Ian Mahinmi at center, it makes more sense for Chris Copeland to slide to that three spot in the small forward position, and that leaves Lance Stephenson in his natural shooting guard position.

I don’t think you have Danny Granger and Chris Copeland playing together in that second unit as neither is really suited for that shooting guard position.  Now the starters are the usual, George Hill, Paul George, Danny Granger, David West, and Roy Hibbert.  Just look at the scoring options there.  With Granger in that lineup, he’s probably the fourth or fifth scoring option, and that’s fine with the talent around him. I don’t think he has to play “second fiddle” like people want to talk up. I believe Granger just wants to be back out playing in whatever role he will.  If he’s able to even get back to that double figures scoring a game, just think how much better that starting unit becomes.

The bench should be much improved, and they have to improve if the Pacers want to be ready to go.  I think that bench if it’s able to perform could be that advantage the Pacers have over most teams.  You look at a second unit with the firepower of Copeland, Scola, and Stephenson, and you have to give them some advantage over teams.  Those are guys that probably could start on a bad team.  But here they are ready to go for a contending team, and they’ll each have their niche on this Pacers team.

Lance Stephenson is a guy that’s come around so much, and I fully believe in him now. I will trust in him to play just as tough off the bench as he would starting a game.  He’s definitely shown that he’s ready to go in any role, and this season, it might just be a different one from last.

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