Jul 5, 2010, 7:57 PM EDT
Lance Stephenson tried to tell us he was “born ready,” the nickname he picked up at the legendary Rucker Park playground games in New York.
Pacers coach Jim O’Brien tried to tell us he was ready.
But until we saw it for ourselves, we weren’t convinced. We’re stubborn like that.
We’re convinced. Lance Stephenson is ready and going to get some burn for the Indiana Pacers this year.
Most people projected him as a two guard, a slasher — the guy has been able to create his own shot since he was a high school sensation in New York. He was a top recruit who went to Cincinnati and… faded. He was a strong 6’5″ guard who just overpowered people in high school, then seemed to struggle with that in college. He didn’t look like a great athlete. That’s why he fell to the second round.
But in the run-and-gun Pacers system, O’Brien saw Stephenson playing the point, getting the ball in his hands as a scorer in transition.
One Summer League game counts about as much as the Electoral College votes from North Dakota, but if that is a bellwether it looked like O’Brien was right. And Stephenson was right about himself. Stephenson had 21 points on 8 of 10 shooting, plus he got to the line eight times.
He’s a scorer, but he made some smart passes as well. A guy who could come in off the bench and provide a scoring spark and quickly become a fan favorite. A guy who still has a little of that Rucker Park flash to his game (which also led to a couple poor decisions, you can bet O’Brien is not going to tolerate many of those moves).
But in a Summer League game – where guys should be busting it hard as they are playing to get noticed by scouts, both NBA and from Europe — Stephenson’s energy stood out.
Being a Summer League star is no indication of success. But it’s something, a sign of potential. And Stephenson has that. He could be a big boost to a Pacers team that lacked much spark at all last season.
- Report: Scott Skiles in lead to become next Orlando coach 0
- Report: Jeff Van Gundy candidate for Pelicans’ coaching job 7
- Cavs’ improved defense deserves credit for commanding 2-0 Eastern Conference Finals lead 22
- No Kyrie Irving, no problem: Cavaliers cruise to blowout Game 2 win over Hawks 23
- Kyrie Irving out for Game 2 vs. Hawks 7
- PBT Extra: Klay Thompson’s done well, but Warriors should throw other defenders at James Harden, too 5
- PBT Extra: Give Warriors defense some credit for stop of Harden on last play 0
- Lakers general manager says Kobe Bryant told him next season will be Kobe’s last with Lakers 20