Nov 8, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson (1) drives to the basket against Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Toronto 91-84. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

George Hill or Lance Stephenson: Bigger X-Factor for Indiana Pacers

Nov 20, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Indiana Pacers point guard George Hill (3) controls the ball against the New York Knicks during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. The Pacers defeated the Knicks 103-96 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

I had to borrow (not steal) a question from a sit down interview featuring the starting five of the Indiana Pacers on ESPN. It was brought up to George Hill and Lance Stephenson as to who would be the bigger x-factor. Both guys are in that conversation because you can see that you’re getting superstar status in Paul George.  You have the defensive post presence of Roy Hibbert.  The mental and physical toughness of David West.  All guys that are consistent in their roles, so you know what you get when they step out on the floor.

George Hill has established himself as a consistent guy enough. But I do think his game could stand to be a bit more aggressive.  He’ll make that extra pass when he could take the shot himself. Being a natural shooting guard, I am surprised he’s able to defer to other guys.  But I do believe that if the Pacers want that extra bit of edge at the point guard position, George Hill has to become more aggressive. He’s a guy that can take a big shot as could be seen last night in the win against New York.  Hill misses two straight free throws, then ends up hitting a three after it.  I don’t think he’ll be in that conversation of “elite” point guards, but solid is a good adjective to describe what Hill does for the Indiana Pacers.

Lance Stephenson is in the contract year. I think he’ll end up making some good chunk of change next season, so now’s the time to prove his worth.  The Pacers seem set on keeping him around, so I don’t think he’s gone right away. But they’ll still need to see the improvement he’s made from last season to this season.  We’ve seen some of that this season in the maturity level of Stephenson and his ability to score in double figures on a nightly basis.  Stephenson is probably the final scoring option out there, but when he gets that ball in the open floor, watch out, he’s looking to score.  There’s got to be more of GOOD LANCE this season, and I want to get to the point that we don’t even mention BAD LANCE.  With the way Stephenson plays his game, that might not ever happen.  Just watch this play, and you think, what was he thinking?

Granted, he could have been thinking Paul George was coming down the lane, instead of stepping back to the three point line. That seems to be the way Stephenson plays, thinking ahead of what’s happening. That’s a fine way to play, but it will end up leading to those mistakes that sometimes the Pacers can’t afford.  Plus, it will feed into that idea of BAD LANCE, and like I said, the Pacers don’t need that anymore.

That’s why I believe he’s the bigger x-factor for the team right now. He’s a guy that’s full of energy, and can get this team going when he needs to. He’s someone that has plenty of potential out there. Not to say, George Hill doesn’t have some potential, but I think we are seeing where Hill will be for his career. Both guys are just important in the grand scheme of the Indiana Pacers.  But case in point, Lance Stephenson is the bigger x-factor if the Pacers want to make it to their ultimate goal of NBA Finals.


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