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Lance Stephenson says he’d have no problem coming off the bench for the Pacers next season

Jul 30, 2013, 11:02 PM EDT

New York Knicks v Indiana Pacers - Game Six Getty Images

Lance Stephenson started all 19 playoff games for the Pacers last season during a run that got them to within one game of advancing to the NBA Finals.

Indiana reloaded in the offseason with a couple of nice free agent acquisitions, however, and with Danny Granger returning from injury, Stephenson may be better suited as a reserve while coming off the bench.

In a recent interview after practicing for the Knox Indy Pro-Am Summer League, Stephenson said he’d have no problem shifting his role if that’s what the team will require.

From Michael Pointer of

Q: Despite having an outstanding season, there’s been a lot of speculation you may go back to coming off the bench this season, especially if Danny Granger is healthy and ready. Would you be OK with that?

A: I’m just coming in to play hard. Whatever coach (Frank Vogel) decides to do, I think it’s a great decision. Me coming off the bench, Danny coming off the bench, either way, we’re deep. Whatever helps the team, that’s what I want to do.

In addition to Granger coming back, the Pacers added Luis Scola and Chris Copeland to fortify their bench, which (along with the high number of turnovers) was the main weakness the team showed in pushing the eventual champion Heat to seven games during the Eastern Conference Finals.

It’s the right answer from Stephenson, who at just 22 years old has already proven to be a volatile presence on this up-and-coming Pacers squad — and we mean that as a compliment, in the best way possible.

  1. adamsjohn714 - Jul 30, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    Perhaps Stephenson should be a bit more selfish. He was much better this season than granger has been in his entire career. Granger just isn’t that good.

    • youngindy21 - Jul 30, 2013 at 11:47 PM

      Dude shut up. You are probably some bandwagon fan that thinks he knows about the Pacers or some fan of a rival team. Granger is a beast and when healthy is probably the best shooter on the team.

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:39 AM

        hmmm…. phrases like ,”he’s a beast” are akin to “will to win” and “championship DNA.” They’re meaningless romantic approaches to basketball that don’t impress upon me the concept that you are anything smarter than a screaming child with his face painted. And I think there is plenty of evidence that Granger isn’t the best shooter on the team.

    • 00maltliquor - Jul 31, 2013 at 3:55 AM

      FOH! Bwahhahaha!

    • bougin89 - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:15 PM

      What NBA are you watching?

    • jkearb - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:07 PM

      Hansbrough is better than both!!

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 2, 2013 at 5:04 PM

      “He was much better this season than granger has been in his entire career.”

      I love Lance. But that is a ridiculous comment. You are trolling all things Pacers related.
      It’s obvious. My guess…Knicks fan. No?

  2. hungryhungryhibbert - Jul 30, 2013 at 11:36 PM

    The only reason to have DG start is to build bus trade value, he is a volume shooter, better suited for our bench.

    • metalhead65 - Jul 30, 2013 at 11:46 PM

      I think it would be better for the team and his trade value if he came off the bench. he can show other teams he is healthy if the pacers decide to trade him plus less min. equals less stress on the knees. plus he brings instant offense into the game which is what the pacers need from the bench.not to mention they would keep the same chemistry they established as team last year.

  3. youngindy21 - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    I think that if the Pacers decide they are gonna trade Granger before the end of the season then Granger should come off the bench. However, if the Pacers are gonna keep him past the trade deadline then they should let him start for the team. I just don’t want Granger to be the starter for half the season and then the Pacers decide to get rid of him because that could harm the starting 5s chemistry heading into the playoffs. Granger is definitely a starter on any team not named Miami or OKC but if he’s not gonna be in Indiana long term then it wouldn’t make sense to have him start. I am a big fan of Danny Granger so I want to see the Pacers keep him but unfortunately I know that might not be realistic especially past this season.

  4. adamsjohn714 - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    lots of disillusioned pacers fans here i guess. I’m not sure why people think granger is better than Stephenson.

    • kinggw - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:49 AM

      Because he is. Granger has averaged 18 and 5 over eight seasons. Stephenson has two good playoff games. Stephenson is definitely talented, but he also personifies the term inconsistency. I’m a fan of “Born Ready” and his style of play, but he is not better than Granger…yet.

      • adamsjohn714 - Jul 31, 2013 at 3:03 AM

        This is Stephenson’s only real year, as he had 2200 minutes, while only totaling 550 the two previous years combined, and he’s young, so it’s quite likely that he will improve some. Granger, however, is coming off a major injury, past his “prime,” and is likely to get worse. Also, granger currently plays the same position as Paul George, who is better, while Stephenson is easily the best SG on the team. Stephenson is also a better rebounder and passer for his position, and has slightly lower turnover numbers and fouls less often than Granger. Now Granger is a better shooter by a little bit, but Stephenson knows shooting isn’t his thing just yet and he doesn’t take many shots. All these things lead me to conclude that Stephenson is the better player and the better fit for the Pacers. (i’m only looking at Stephenson’s past season and also ignoring Granger’s 74 total minutes this year).

  5. cbrown386 - Jul 31, 2013 at 3:51 AM

    I like Lance off the bench. Although he is erratic, he brings energy. The same as a lot of the top 6th men in the league do, JR Smith and Jamal Crawford come to mind. He’ll go 3-8 sometimes, but even so it brings energy to the court. Other nights he can get hot, as evidenced in the playoffs. Not knowing which Lance Stephenson is going to show up is a big part of what makes him dangerous. The other team can’t sleep on him, which eliminates a double team inside.

    This new Pacers bench will be dangerous. Shooters to space the floor, a rim protector, and Stephenson to drive. Not to mention the fact that Vogel rarely plays a pure bench lineup, I think a lot of times we’ll be seeing Stephenson and George/Granger at the 3 running similarly to this past season.

  6. 00maltliquor - Jul 31, 2013 at 4:06 AM

    Born Ready for the bench!

  7. hoosiercolts - Jul 31, 2013 at 7:19 AM

    1 on 5 fast break?? Born Ready’s takin’ it to the hole. 1 man fast break!!!

  8. slaydog103 - Jul 31, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    As much as I like Stephenson, he still has some growing up to do. No I’m not talking about his attitude(he’s been pretty good this year with that), but yet his game play. There are times where he’s all in and going hard through the lane and other times were he’s hesitant misses a completely wide open 3. If he becomes consistent he could certainly land himself a big contract in the next couple of years. Once he becomes consistent, he’ll be better than Granger, but as for now, Granger is still the better player.

  9. ProBasketballPundit - Jul 31, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    There no chance Vogel doesn’t start Lance Stephenson again this season. The Pacers had the best starting 5 in basketball last season, including outscoring Miami’s starting 5 all series long in the playoffs. I don’t know how they did it… but they did. Keep those guys together and just enjoy the new depth with Granger and Scola coming off the bench.

  10. kb2408 - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    The Pacers are loaded, unselfish, well-coached and my pick to represent the East in the NBA Finals. The additions they made along with bringing back Larry Legend is going to pay off big time. That and the fact that they know they were the best team in the East last season. Miami won (more like survived due to LBJ) but Indy was the better team.

    • borderline1988 - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      There have been no less than three 7 game series in the past 2 years involving Miami where you could legitimately argue that the other team was a ‘better team’.

      Miami won all 3 times, because at the end of the day, they have the best player in the league, who is by far the most clutch player in the NBA.

      (When I say ‘most clutch player’, I’m not talking about who can fadeaway jumpers with no time left on the clock. I’m talking about elimination games in general, where Lebron has been just absolutely monstrous the last 2 years).

    • adamsjohn714 - Jul 31, 2013 at 5:46 PM

      The Pacers made some questionable moves this offseason. Letting Hansbrough go wasn’t too bright, as he was a serviceable backup big man. Replacing him with Scola was downright stupid. He’s much older, and not as good. Dumping Green was a good idea, though.

      • kb2408 - Jul 31, 2013 at 6:54 PM

        Dude, just stop it, Scola is a better player than Tyler!! And I like Tyler.

      • adamsjohn714 - Jul 31, 2013 at 10:19 PM

        dude, look at a stat sheet every now and again. Less efficient big men who are old, can’t play defense, and foul more often aren’t helpful.

  11. P3KNL - Aug 2, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    good to know all the pacers are accepting their roles, I guess even if he comes off the bench he will still play heavy minutes due to him being a better defender than granger… in any case hopefully this is the year Indy goes all the way!

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