The Indiana Pacers are victors when Lance Stephenson brings his energy. The Pacers go as Stephenson goes.
Yeah, you read that right.
Not Paul George, not Roy Hibbert and not David West. Lance Stephenson.
Indiana has only suffered nine losses through 43 games, so it isn’t often Stephenson has an off-game. In fact, he has still performed well in a number of Pacers’ losses. However, the majority of defeats have occurred because Lance isn’t playing like Lance can play.
Stephenson, a Cincinnati Bearcat for only one season, is averaging 14.2 points, 5.3 assists and 7 rebounds a game. Compared with his career averages of 8.2 points, 2.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds, the numbers speak volumes on Stephenson’s progression as a professional basketball player.
What stands out the most are his numbers from games which the Pacers have lost this season. Remember, only nine losses, and one of them to the Atlanta Hawks in which Stephenson was inactive due to injury.
Indiana’s first loss of the season, to the Bulls, saw Stephenson put up 12 points (5-14 FG), three assists and a rebound in 32 minutes. Not normal numbers for the 40th overall draft pick in 2010. The Pacers’ second loss to Portland was worse for Lance: two points (1-3 FG), four rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes. He fouled out of the game.
What about the third loss, you ask? It came courtesy of Oklahoma City, in which Stephenson scored eight points (4-11 FG), grabbed three rebounds and dished out three assists in only 26 minutes.
These numbers coming from the player that currently leads the NBA in triple-doubles with three, and has nearly recorded seven more on top of that. In those seven games, Stephenson has only been a couple assists or one more basket away from the triple-double. Astounding for the same guy that took more than two years to mature in the locker room.
Only three of Indiana’s losses have come when Stephenson has played to his potential. In those three games, against Detroit, at Miami and at Denver, Lance has averaged 19.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 5 assists.
Think about that. Those are big numbers – numbers indicative of a very active player and one that is all over the place throughout the game.