Pacers Stephenson Breaking Out

Pacers Stephenson Breaking Out


Indiana was already considered by all NBA experts to be in the running to bump off the Heat in the postseason. But the way they’ve ran out to an 8-0 start has to be making GM’s and front office management a bit worried. Their entire roster seems to have gotten better in the offseason as they are playing as a complete team. They have the Chicago Bulls defense of a year ago with an offense that is potent for 2-3 runs a game.

You would expect to see improvement from Roy Hibbert and Paul George with the way they performed in the postseason. A guy that I did not see making the leap he has is Lance Stephenson. Stephenson just had a triple double Monday against the Grizzlies, and is becoming a staple to the Pacers offense. Based on the shots he took a year ago and his field goal percentage you would of never expected an offensive categorical improvement from Stephenson.

Lance is one of the reasons retired NBA players and others moan about the one and done college rule. Stephenson left after an unimpressive year at Cincinnati and seemed willing to take on stints in the D-League or overseas if he went undrafted. Luckily for him the Indiana Pacers drafted him in the late second round of 2010.

If he had played four years at Cincinnati this would have been his rookie season. Maturity seems to be the biggest difference in Stephenson’s play. Now his coaching staff and teammates believe in him more on the offensive end. Although it’s only an eight game sample Stephenson is shooting over 50% from three on 18 out of 35 attempts. On top of that he is taking near twelve field goal attempts a game from right under eight a year ago.

Indiana will have a bit of a conundrum when Danny Granger is able to return. By the way the Pacers are playing it may be wise for Indiana to bring Granger off the bench to not mess with the current starting five chemistry.

I wouldn’t think that Stephenson’s current numbers are an aberration for fantasy basketball owners. He is playing like a first round pick, which he would of assuredly been this offseason if he were a senior at Cincinnati.


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