During Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals last Sunday, I asked the world of Twitter if Lance Stephenson was anyone else’s favourite Pacer. Much to my surprise, I received little-to-no response, and the only reply I did get was negative.
Nobody at all RT @HoopAsylum: Is Lance Stephenson anyone else’s favourite Pacer?
Admittedly, with guys like Paul George sporting the Navy Blue and Gold, my question to many basketball fans could easily sound quite absurd.
Now, I’m not saying Lance Stephenson is the best guy on the team, but for my money, he is quickly becoming one of the most exciting players to watch in the league. He’s always in attack-mode, playing with a chip on his shoulder, creating plays (Lance is a seriously underrated passer) and forcing his defensive matchups to shuffle their feet.
In all fairness, Mike Huncho (@AyeYoDubb) did tweet a reply to me expressing exactly why he disagreed with my question, which to an extent, I can agree with.
@HoopAsylum when he’s on it’s nice.. But he’s inconsistent
— Mike Huncho (@AyeYoDubb) May 18, 2014
Inconsistent? Maybe. Greatly improved, hard working and fun to watch? Definitely.
Let’s take a look at Stephenson’s stats over the course of his NBA career:
The 2013-14 regular season was by far Stephenson’s greatest year.
Career high in points, rebounds and assists, as well as field goal, 3-point field goal and free throw percentage? I’d say that’s pretty good going if you ask me.
A solidifying performance
As well as improving his game throughout the regular season, Stephenson showed that he is not scared to step up during the postseason, too.
Stephenson’s 17-point performance in Game 1 was enough to help the Pacers start the series off the way they wanted to; but in Game 2, he really came to life.
In Game 2, Stephenson led the Pacers in points and assists (25 points, 7 assists) as well as grabbing 6 boards. And although his performance still wasn’t enough to give the Pacers a 2-0 edge in the series, it did solidify my original statement of Lance Stephenson being my favourite Pacer.
The stats alone don’t tell the whole story. To gain a better understanding of how well he played in Game 2, I highly recommend watching the video below to see Stephenson’s full highlights from Game 2:
As you can see in the video, Stephenson made a few plays which really stood out: He showed offensive awareness and caught LeBron James slipping on a momentary lapse of defensive and made a nice drive to the basket. To end the second quarter, he managed to score on a tip-in with 0.1 seconds left – the only possible way they could have scored with the time they had remaining. Stephenson even added humour into the mix, performing one of the greatest theatrical performances in comical flopping history.
My original tweet was merely to see if anyone sees the same things in Lance Stephenson that I see: Fearlessness, a unique swagger and someone who makes exciting plays that NBA fans love to watch.
Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing Stephenson develop over the course of the next few seasons and seeing if he can continue to improve.
I don’t think he will be the best player on any given team anytime soon, but I am confident that more people than myself will class him as their favourite Pacer.