Larry Bird has Lance Stephenson’s Back

by December 03, 2010

Lance Stephenson has yet to be activated this season. In 17 games, Lance hasn’t gotten the opportunity to suit up, let alone see the court.  But all signs are positive for ‘Born Ready.’ From the Indianapolis Star: Pacers president Larry Bird has no plans to send Stephenson to Fort Wayne in the near future, but he said earlier this week there’s a possibility it could happen later this season. ‘Not right now, because I think he needs to be here,’ Bird said. ‘But you never know, later on in the season we might send him there to get some time.’ Stephenson, the Pacers’ second-round pick this year, has been inactive for all 17 games. The only way he’ll be active is if he beats out a teammate or if the Pacers come down with a rash of injuries at guard. The Pacers have yet to send a player to the D-League because they feel players need to be around the team to learn coach Jim O’Brien’s system. ‘We do a lot of stuff in practice that he needs to learn,” Bird said. “Jimmy stays on him pretty tough. I’m very high on the kid. I want him to be part of the team whether he’s dressing or not.’ The Pacers see Stephenson as part of their future. They signed him to a two-year guaranteed contract over the summer. O’Brien said he’s open to sending Stephenson to Fort Wayne for a week or so when the Pacers have a stretch in which they’re playing four games in five nights because there won’t be much practice time for the former New York high school star. ‘That’s going to be Larry’s call,’ O’Brien said. ‘I don’t know if getting playing time in the D-League is necessarily going to be that dramatic of an improvement for him. He might be getting playing time down there, but he’s not getting playing time learning what we’re trying to teach them.'”