Stephenson is capable of becoming the leagues greatest second round pick of all time. He gets paid though like the last guy on the bench. Stephenson is pretty much playing for free and for Larry Bird to complain about Stephenson doesn’t make sense.
I don’t think Bird understands how good of a player Lance Stephenson really is. Sure, Stephenson made himself a public target after hitting Lebron James in the chin and blowing in his ear, but Bird criticizing him I think was uncalled for. Without Stephenson, the Pacers lose to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round.
People have been underestimating Stephenson his entire life. He quickly became one of my favorite players of all time when I heard about him in Sports Illustrated as a freshman. He is the same age as me so it gave me someone to follow. He was at the same high school that Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair went to. Telfair is a guy who I really admired because he jumped straight to the NBA from high school and was featured in a book and a movie.
Stephenson was the top player in his class. Then he got in trouble and lost all of his scholarships. He looked primed to attend Kansas before that offer was pulled. He went to Cincinnati for one year before jumping to the NBA. He missed time in college and didn’t put up flashy numbers. He ended up falling to the second round which pretty much means you don’t really have much of a chance to be successful in the NBA.
He had to earn every single second of playing time. He is a big part of this team and his play isn’t getting the credit it deserves. Paul George just said, “I don’t know” when he was asked if he wanted Stephenson back on the team next year. George will eat his words, I guarantee it.
The Lance Stephenson versus Paul George rivalry will be a great one because Stephenson will dominate it. Stephenson will get way better. George on the other hand is about to lose pretty much his only weapon. Have fun with that. Between Stephenson and Lebron, I don’t think George will ever get to the NBA Finals.