The Indiana Pacers are currently battling for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The team has brought back a familiar face in Lance Stephenson on Wednesday in hopes of giving the team a good push during the playoffs.
Stephenson was drafted 40th overall by the Indiana Pacers in the 2010 NBA Draft, the same draft class as Paul George. He struggled his first two years trying to find a spot in the rotation but by year three he was starting to step up as a regular starter. In Stephenson’s fourth year, he improved even more, becoming one of the main focal points of the Pacers team that made an Eastern Conference Finals appearances in 2013 & 2014. During his fourth season with Indiana, Stephenson averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 rebounds per game. He also ended that season with a league high five triple-doubles (although not as impressive now with the way Westbrook has been playing) and placed second in the Most Improved Player of the Year award, only behind Goran Dragic.
In the summer of 2014 Stephenson wanted to test the market and see what he was worth. He ended up signing with the Charlotte Hornets on a three-year deal. After a subpar season with the Hornets he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. He played in only 43 games as a Clipper before being dealt to the injury riddled Memphis Grizzlies, where he averaged a career high 14.2 points in only 26 games.
This season Stephenson has dealt with the injury. He started off on a good note with the New Orleans Pelicans before suffering an injury and the team decided to waive him. He then signed two separate 10-day contracts with the Minnesota Timberwolves and was not signed by them for the rest of the season. Now he is back with the Indiana Pacers in hopes to revive his NBA career.
In his tenure in Indiana, Lance Stephenson brought Pacers fans to its feet on a nightly basis with aggressive play. The current Pacers are in desperate need of a Lance Stephenson return. Outside of Paul George, Indiana is looking for some passion and aggression from players and I really think he would bring that.
Key word THAT LANCE STEPHENSON.
Stephenson can get to the basket and finish, he also plays the game with high energy, which is something Indiana is looking for at the moment. He is a 6’6′ shooting guard that can rebound well as well as dish the ball. His three-point shot and defense can sometimes can sometimes come into question, but he is not afraid to get into an opponents face on any given night.
Regardless if you question that he can play back to his old Indiana days, but Indiana needs some sort of an energy boost as they fight one of the playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. Bringing in an old face can definitely help the team now and also can help trying to bring back superstar Paul George as he set to become a free agent this summer.
Lance Stephenson should of never left the Indiana Pacers, but at least the team and Stephenson himself has another chance to show that his first run with the team was not a fluke and re-vitaliaze his career.