If you’re an Indiana Pacers fan worried about the future of the franchise without Paul George, have no fear. Point guard Lance Stephenson is here.
Lance played for three different teams, including the Pacers, in last year’s regular season. He spent time in New Orleans and Minnesota before finding his was back to Indiana at the end of the year. In 18 regular season games, six with each team, Stephenson averaged 6.8 points, 3.3 assists, and 2.9 rebounds.
The enigmatic guard played in all four playoff games for the Pacers, averaging 16 points, 2.8 assists, and 5.3 rebounds in 26.8 minutes. Typically playing shooting guard or small forward, a slimmer Lance moving to point guard may be what saves the Pacers organization.
Stephenson, 26, struggled and bounced around the league after leaving Indiana as a free agent following the 2014 season. He didn’t live up to a three-year $27 million deal in Charlotte, who traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers. Failing to provide the Clippers bench with the spark they were looking for, Los Angeles flipped him to Memphis. Stephenson was a bright spot for a banged up Grizzlies team, but the organization declined his option following the 2016 season.
Stephenson is a cult hero in Indy. When he returned to the Pacers this past season, he received a “Michael Jordan-like ovation” and looked revitalized playing for the team that drafted him. Stephenson is under contract with the Pacers for two more seasons.
With point guard incumbent Jeff Teague headed to free agency and George likely dealt this week, the Pacers franchise need some stability on the court. If anyone is to bring that stability to the franchise, it’s the guy who was ‘Born Ready’ to handle anything life throws at him.