Lance Stephenson’s Defensive Shortcomings

by October 05, 2010

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

With a nickname like “Born Ready”, expectations are always high. So far for Lance Stephenson, he has not seemed ready for NBA basketball, and the biggest issues are on the defensive end of the floor.

According to Stephenson’s head coach, Jim O’Brien, the 6-5, 210-pounder is having a tough time guarding people, to the point where he’d be glued to the bench should the Pacers have a game to play.

The Indy Star

Stephenson, a second-round draft pick, has been a defensive liability during the first part of training camp. “If we were playing a game tonight, he wouldn’t get a minute,” Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said. Stephenson’s offensive skill allowed him to play in high school and college despite defensive shortcomings. That’s not the case anymore. His mistakes are broken down, either on the spot in practice by the coaching staff or the next morning during a video session.

“In college, I was definitely able to take shortcuts and try to get over,” Stephenson said. “In the NBA, you can’t get over. I have to get better at it.” Stephenson’s biggest problem has been off-the-ball defense.

It’s not all bad news for Stephenson and the Pacers, however. Despite well-documented concerns about his attitude, the coaching staff in Indy says Lance has been using the criticism of his defense to get better, and hasn’t caused any headaches.

Considering all of the drama that surrounded his professional debut in Indiana, Lance Stephenson can ill afford to fall behind any further.