Friday, July 1st, 2011 at 1:58 pm  |  28 responses

Video: Lance Stephenson Rookie Mix

Don’t sleep on Born Ready.

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…

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  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Great stuff, Eldon. As I said in our little ichat about this video…
    he is SO physiclaly equipped to play in the league and such good court vision when he wants to pass. Really pulling for him.

  • Youngindy21

    He is definitely gonna be a beast as soon as he gets his behavior together. I can’t wait to see him start for the Indiana Pacers. I don’t think he will be a bust.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    he’s got all the talent in the world, it all comes down to how muc he wants to succeed, i.e. putting in the work like a professional and maintaining a professional demeanor…I agree with @youngindy21, he’s got the potential to be one of the great NBA 2 guards

  • http://slamonline.com Eldon Khorshidi

    @Ben Amen. You already know

  • riz

    how good could that team be, assuming everyone gets near there potential? alot of solid athletes and that division is on the road to recovery (with the exception of the bulls).

  • Sizzle

    He sort of reminds me of Tyreke Evans. Although (and I haven’t watched him enough) but his jumper looks better and he looks to be a better passer. His handle is absolutely nasty. Just seeing this makes me want to catch more Pacers games on League Pass. God I hope we have a season next year…

  • http://slamonline.com Eldon Khorshidi

    @Sizzle you’re on point. Been saying the Reke comparison forever. Obviously less talented (IMO), but body type yes sir. He’s so saucy.

  • lockon

    i think you should have mentioned that you featured him in issue 100

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    All the tools to be a starter in the L. Finally, Lance gets some love!

  • Thomas

    He had some nice moves, but pay attention to the bar at the bottom. Every highlight is in the 4th quarter of a blowout…just sayin. there is no way he does that in a close game; way better defense

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    @sizzle and @eldon re Tyreke: totally

  • D12FSU

    couldnt help but notice that in all of those highlights (with the exception of the first quarter in the dallas game) the pacers were down by 15+ to every team…even the wolves

  • Papa Smurf

    Let’s save the mixes for guys who have shown some real signs that they have staying power. Brian Cardinal is more worthy of a mix. So far, Lance Stephenson = Felipe Lopez, Part 2.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    When was the last time a PG for NY did anything in the L? I’ll wait……..

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    he didnt play alot, but from the few highlights he has you can tell he has the talent. His mentality is probably like marbury’s though.

  • Doctor J

    Lance has all the tools necessary to be a legitimate player in the league. The only thing stopping him right now is himself. He has a great first step and seems to have the unique ability to know where everyone else is on the court when he’s moving full speed. Another year of college would have been a great benefit to him; However I understand why he jumped to the league. I can’t blame anyone for wanting to get paid for using their talent. The jury’s still out on him as he’s only 20 and basketball players typically peak at age 26.

  • snasty10

    alot of potential for him, hope he keeps his nose to the grindstone and keeps the legend of coney island going

  • mike

    Reminds me of Michael Ray Richardson

  • hoyafan

    Stephenson has all the talent in the world, no question. But why exactly are you pulling for him? A guy like DeMarcus Cousins I pull for. He is a headcase but alot of dudes his age are and his issues are just arguments with coaches. But he isnt a bad guy, that stuff can be overcome. Stephenson’s incidents werent just fights or small matters. Some of Stephensons problems included sexual assault and pushing his girlfriend down steps. I think you are being a little misleading when you dismiss incidents such as this as Lance being “picked on.”

  • hoyafan

    Also, a 12 game highlight tape? And some of this occurred when his team was getting blown out? Really?

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    Has the tools… BUT “if he gets his mindset together and stays focused”. Thats a HUGE ‘if’ Eldon. Also most of these highlights were during 20 point blowouts against other 10th-11th-12th men who weren’t exactly playing much D. Fun player to watch though and good luck to him.

  • http://Slamonline.com Datkid

    I haven’t seen that much of tyreke… Is stephenson really less talented than him?

  • http://slamonline.com Neitel Agosto

    This kid is special. i been following his game since high school, just like i been following kyrie irving and now, Jayshawn Agosto. this kids are so gifted, compared to a 20 year old kid in 1961. I wonder how my daughter, Avril Agosto, will do once i teach her how to play ball.

  • bballson

    if he gets his head together he definitely has a chance to succeed. Larry Bird is gonna at least do his part to make sure of it.
    imagine if Sebastian Telfair had a coach who went out his way to make sure succeed, he would be an All Star.
    i find it funny that lance came into league with a court case and bad behavior history and larry bird is deeming him a golden child. Yet telfair, while he did have a goof up but was clearly a good kid and just a talented, cant catch a break.
    anyone else see a problem there?


    It has been a minute since NYC had a solid pg in the league. I tried to argue but I just went through my mental roledex and the last good ones was Steph and Tinsley. Wait I think Raymond Felton may be a NYC pg.

  • Seven Duece

    I didn’t even know he played 2:36 minutes this season.

  • J in the Atl

    He’s a hell of a player and I hope he get an opportunity to show what he’s capable of doing. You cant deny his talent.

    * Great highlight video- did anyone else notice that they are all from games where the pacers were losing and games were over?

  • http://malikharrington44 malik harrington

    malik harrington brooklyn nets future point guard