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Indiana Pacers Player Recap: Lance Stephenson


May 28, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson (1) drives to the basket with Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) defending in game four of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Starting off the week with the assessment of George Hill, and now turning the attention to shooting guard Lance Stephenson.  That’s right, starting shooting guard, Lance Stephenson.  Who would have predicted that Stephenson would get the call to start at the beginning of this past season?  I figured he would come off the bench as the sixth man, and hopefully turn that corner into a quality bench guy.  But what the Pacers got was a quality starter, who sometimes lacked that consistency that would be needed for the team.  GOOD LANCE and BAD LANCE is usually how I referred to it.  But let’s just say for the upcoming season, the Pacers will need CONSISTENT LANCE.

This past season Lance Stephenson did turn a corner though.  He provided some energy to the starters that they sometimes lacked.  He might have picked it up too much at times, but when the Pacers needed a shot of boost, he was there.  The GOOD LANCE was the guy that came alive in a couple of games in the playoffs.  He had that huge game against the New York Knicks, and then put together a great effort against the Miami Heat late in that series.  But there were still moments of BAD LANCE.  Trying to get too fancy with his passes against the Detroit Pistons in a game that was a blowout ended up with him on the bench right after a horrible through the legs pass.  Those moments  have to go away if Lance Stephenson wants to round this corner, and turn into one good shooting guard for the Pacers.

Another area to improve is his shooting.  There’s no doubt Lance Stephenson can score.  He can get into the lane, and he can make some jump shots.  That jump shot is where he needs to improve the most.  There are times when he looks to be in perfect form for a shot, and other times when the shot clanks off the rim like it was me shooting out there.  Believe me, if you’ve seen me take some shots, you’ve seen some bad shots.  So if Stephenson can clean up his jump shot, just watch how much more he can improve.

The other area where I just don’t know what to expect is the emotion side of him IF Danny Granger gets bumped into the starting line up come next season.  Granger has said he wants to start.  Personally, I think that Granger should stay on the bench, and let the starters have another run together.  But I understand that Granger lost the starting job due to injury, and usually in that situation, the starter gets their job back.  What does that mean Stephenson will do coming off the bench?  Does he react negatively?  Maybe not publicly  but in his own head.  Does he not bring that same energy to the bench?  Those would be the huge questions coming into next season if Granger gets his starting role back.

I like the progress that Lance Stephenson has shown, and it’s proving that Larry Bird was right to stick with this guy. It took me a bit to see what Stephenson can do, but I love what he can do when he’s GOOD LANCE.  Next season, it’s got to be CONSISTENT LANCE for this Pacers team to use him to the best of his ability.