by Eldon Khorshidi / @eldonadam
Only 20 years of age, Lance Stephenson has a storied history long enough for a series of books. Dubbed “Born Ready” as an early teeanger, Stephenson drew lots of attention and infused hyped all over New York City. But with the extreme adulation came heavy expectations and a slew of haters. Stephenson has been picked on for years now, and has even been labeled a bust. But if there’s one guy I have faith in to prove people wrong, it’s Lance.
At 6-5, it’s extremely difficult for typical NBA point guards to guard him. Unless you’re around his height, he’ll back you down and use his body to drive his way into the paint. If you don’t have the lateral quickness or hand speed to make up for a lack of size, you’ll be outmatched. Despite appearing in only 12 games this season (for a number of reasons, none which have been singled-out as the main setback. There was his arrest last August which lingered through late March, a lack of desire to play defense, commotion in the locker room, etc…), Lance showed flashes of brilliance. Pacers President and NBA legend Larry Bird has been supportive of Lance since day 1, calling him a ‘steal’ when the Pacers grabbed him with the 40th pick and staying by his side through the early bumps.
I could go on for days, but to make a long story short, don’t think Lance Stephenson is a bust, at least not yet. The kid is 20 years old and still maturing, and if he gets his mindset together and stays focused, Lance can be a very special player in this league. Peep his rookie highlight reel below, which you probably didn’t think existed. All we hear about is what Lance can’t do, and in the midst of all that we forget how remarkable of a ball player he really is. The kid has talent, and both myself and SLAM Editor-in-Chief Ben Osborne are pulling for him. Take it for what it’s worth, but SLAM did put him on a cover with John Wall. Just saying…