Lance Stephenson will be missed by the Indiana Pacers next season

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.

Top 10 High School Draft Picks from 1995-2001

From 1995 until 2005, 12 high schoolers were drafted in the top ten of the NBA Draft. Some became legends, while most are now forgotten.

Kevin Garnett was the first player since 1975 to go straight to the NBA out of high school. The Minnesota Timberwolves rolled the dice and took him fifth overall in the 1995 NBA Draft. It was a great choice. He made Minnesota a good team every year he was there. After Minnesota, Garnett went to Boston where he won an NBA Title. He is currently on the Nets and he has averaged 18.8 points per game in his career. Other highlights from the future hall of famer include being a 15 time All-Star, the 2004 NBA MVP and a gold medalist in the 2000 Olympics.

The next high schooler to go in the top ten was Darius Miles who went third overall to the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2000 NBA Draft. Miles had an average career where he bounced around between the Clippers, Cavaliers, Blazers and Grizzlies. With an average of 10.1 points per game, Miles is generally known as a draft bust.

In 2001, four high schoolers were drafted in the top ten and it started with number one overall pick, Kwame Brown who was drafted by the Washington Wizards. Brown is known as one of the worst number one picks of all time. Between the Wizards, Lakers, Grizzlies, Pistons, Bobcats, Warriors and 76ers, Brown only averaged 6.6 points per game. 

Tyson Chandler was drafted second overall, right behind Brown. Starting with the Bulls, Chandler has played on five teams and is currently with the New York Knicks. When Chandler was the starting center on the Dallas Mavericks they won an NBA championship. Chandler has also won an Olympic gold medal. In the NBA, Chandler has averaged 8.7 points and 9 rebounds per game.

The fourth overall pick, Eddy Curry also went to the Bulls. Curry was compared to Shaq. Many people called Chicago, ‘The Baby Bulls’, because Chandler and Curry both were straight from high school. They had very high expectations. Finally in 2005, the Bulls went to the playoffs, but Curry was sidelined because of an irregular heartbeat right before the playoffs. That Bulls team was fun to watch, but it was done. In the 2006-2007 season with the Knicks, Curry averaged a career high 19.5 points per game. He battled injuries his whole career but was able to average a respectable 12.9 points per game in his career and he even won a championship with the Miami Heat. 

Cleveland selected Dasagna Diop eighth overall. Diop was expected to develop into a great player but it never happened. He averaged only 2 points per game in a career where he only got 93 starts with four different teams.