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View Full Version : Lance's lack of defense may equal limited time



Trophy
10-05-2010, 01:47 PM
http://www.indystar.com/article/20101005/SPORTS04/10050318/1062/SPORTS04/Stephenson-gets-crash-course-in-defense

Mike Wells
IndyStar

Lance Stephenson was given the nickname "Born Ready" for his basketball skills while playing on the blacktops of New York City. But it is clear the Indiana Pacers rookie guard got that name for what he could do offensively, not defensively.

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.

He's sticking to the true meaning of man-to-man defense. He stays on his man and doesn't pay attention to where the ball is on the court.

That was the case during a recent scrimmage when Stephenson stood and watched as fellow rookie Paul George caught the ball, squared his body to the basket and took an uncontested 3-point shot in the corner.

"I've got to be at the right spot on the court and see the where the ball is at when my man doesn't have it," Stephenson said. "The ball will be across court and I'll still be on my man. I'll get better at it."

The 6-5, 210-pound Stephenson is also having difficulty defending the pick-and-roll. He gets screened instead of fighting through the pick, or going around it when the opportunity is there.

O'Brien wants him to pressure the ball so it would be harder for Stephenson to get picked.

Stephenson was shifted from point guard to shooting guard in practice Monday because he couldn't stop Darren Collison on the pick-and-roll.

Playing Stephenson at shooting guard better conceals his defensive flaws, according to O'Brien.

"It all starts with ball pressure," O'Brien said.

"Pick-and-rolls are easier to guard if you pressure the ball. Sometimes young guys think it's easier to back off to avoid the screen. They'll still get screened. He needs to use his strength to jam the guy and push him toward the sideline or corner."

Stephenson, who came to the Pacers with a reputation for having a questionable attitude, has handled the criticism well. He listens and attempts to fix the problem right away.

The Pacers have enough depth at the guard positions that they don't have to force-feed minutes to Stephenson.

"I think he understands the difference between coaching and criticism," O'Brien said. "I see some growth in his defense. I told him I want him to come in with the goal to get better defensively each day. If he does that every day, it'll get to the point in time where he'll be good enough of a defensive player that he'll be able to get some playing time."

Injury update
The Pacers have suffered their first two injuries in training camp.

Point guard T.J. Ford and forward Solomon Jones sat out most of practice with strained right and left hamstrings, respectively.

Both are listed as day-to-day.

Psyren
10-05-2010, 01:50 PM
He'll learn. No big deal.

Plus, it's not like he's the only person on this team who plays no defense.

Trophy
10-05-2010, 01:51 PM
I still feel that AJ should be getting more time than Lance as well as being Darren's backup, but we'll see who's most worthy of it as the season begins.

MillerTime
10-05-2010, 01:55 PM
I guess then he'll fit into JOB's system just perfectly

dohman
10-05-2010, 01:56 PM
The good thing is he is looking to learn. He has several Defensive specialists to learn from in brush, posey, and jones.

If he can commit to defense and spend his time learning he will be a top pg in this league within 4 years. If not he will be a bench player. Doesnt matter if he can score 20 if the others team pg can score 25 on him.

Strummer
10-05-2010, 01:57 PM
3 players will be inactive and 3 players will be sitting on the end of the bench not part of the regular rotation. That's what will limit Stephenson's playing time...

I still hope they send him to the D League. Make learning D his priority. I'd rather see that then see him playing garbage time in the NBA. At least in the near term...

dohman
10-05-2010, 02:07 PM
3 players will be inactive and 3 players will be sitting on the end of the bench not part of the regular rotation. That's what will limit Stephenson's playing time...

I still hope they send him to the D League. Make learning D his priority. I'd rather see that then see him playing garbage time in the NBA. At least in the near term...

personally I dont think that is the right path for him. He needs to be guarding elite talent. If you want to be the best you have to play against the best every day. ITs great he has DC to guard because you cant get much quicker than that.

Strummer
10-05-2010, 02:12 PM
personally I dont think that is the right path for him. He needs to be guarding elite talent. If you want to be the best you have to play against the best every day. ITs great he has DC to guard because you cant get much quicker than that.

What I've read indicates he doesn't have the basic idea how to play team defense and guard the pick and roll. He has to learn the basics before he can hope to contend with the elite. But once he can hold his own in the D league I agree he should be brought up.

90'sNBARocked
10-05-2010, 02:46 PM
Read more NBA news and insight: http://www.hoopsworld.com/Chat.asp?CHAT_TOPICS_ID=1190#ixzz11VmDB9e6
by Luke Barnes at Hoopsworld



Eric P in Naptown:
Hey Luke, hope all is well with you. Why do so many rookies struggle with defense?

Luke Byrnes:
Adjusting from the competition level from college to the pros is a daunting task. Typically, guys that are NBA talents can get by in college by simply being the better athlete. In the NBA, everyone is a great athlete. Film study, understanding of what the offense as a whole and the individual player are trying to do, and playing within the defensive system are almost more important that the physical attributes you bring to the table. That is why there is such a period of adjustment. Like a running back in the NFL. They may have all the necessary skills with the ball in their hands, but you have to be able to protect the passer as well as run with the ball in your hands. It is a real transistion to start blocking a guy like Clay Matthews instead of some college linebacker we'll never hear from again.

TooBigNdaPaint
10-05-2010, 02:57 PM
Lance is a young cat and needs to be groomed like every one else. He didn't play for a big time college where they focused on fundamentals and defense. He'll come around fairly quickly IF he wants to get on the court and play a few minutes each game. I still think he'll cause some match-up problems and he will definitely be a better matchup against the 6'4" or bigger PGs that run amok in this league. DC at 6'0" (and AJ)will get beat-down and abused by these bigger PGs. Since Lance is much stronger and taller, he'll be the matchup ANSWER to these other big PGs. Can't wait to see Lance matched up with Tyreke Evans again. They ain't played each other since Lance was a runt in 8th Grade and Tyreke was an 11th grader. Now, Lance is 6'5" and should provide great entertainment going up against Tyreke Evans at 6'5" or John Walls at 6'4" or even Deron Williams at 6'3".

bambam
10-05-2010, 05:17 PM
Murphy didn't play defense, and he got a lot of minutes. The kid has a sweet touch and good ability to drive. So why was murphy special to jim. Cause they both had irish backgrounds?

Kuq_e_Zi91
10-05-2010, 06:15 PM
Murphy didn't play defense, and he got a lot of minutes. The kid has a sweet touch and good ability to drive. So why was murphy special to jim. Cause they both had irish backgrounds?

I'm sure Murphy played excellent team defense, or better yet, he was crucial in spreading the floor.

It's just more lip-service. I recall him saying the same things about Roy, JMac and Brandon at one point in time as a way of justifying his rotations.

Lance will learn. I have a feeling he's never been taught how to play defense before, so this is all new to him. It's like you never learned a language before and someone just drops you in that particular country. Yeah, you'll be lost for a while, but you'll catch on soon enough and you'll be more than capable. It also helps he just turned 20 and he has a vet like Posey to learn from, not to mention the attitude with which he's approaching this whole thing.

Asteezy
10-05-2010, 06:20 PM
Sure Lance cant (and possibly will never be able to) guard the smaller, lightning fast PG's at an average level, but they too wont be able to guard him with his size and strength, therefore I feel that Lance should be used (in the short term) as a kind of offensive spark plug when the offences stagnates. he offers the chance to get some cheap buckets on post ups and 1 on 1 situations

Sookie
10-05-2010, 06:23 PM
Sure Lance cant (and possibly will never be able to) guard the smaller, lightning fast PG's at an average level, but they too wont be able to guard him with his size and strength, therefore I feel that Lance should be used (in the short term) as a kind of offensive spark plug when the offences stagnates. he offers the chance to get some cheap buckets on post ups and 1 on 1 situations

Sure they'll be able too. Lance's ball handling isn't that spectacular either. They'll just pressure him all the way up the court..which will result in not great things for the Pacers.

I don't believe this is true for all positions, but I think for PGs it's much better to be small and speedy than big and slow.

Fortunatly, there's a better position for him to play on the basketball court. That does not involve him taking care of the ball, defending smaller quicker players, and making decisions for the entire offense. And it does involve him doing what he's best at...scoring. He's a strong guy. I think he'll be strong next to most shooting guards too.

Anthem
10-05-2010, 06:25 PM
Murphy's defense was bad. Lance's is supposedly horrendous.

That's ok, though, because Murphy's defense wasn't going to get better, while Lance is improving already.

I think playing at the 2 makes sense for him this year... give all of the PG minutes to AJ and Collison.

Freddie fan
10-05-2010, 06:53 PM
I'm sure Murphy played excellent team defense, or better yet, he was crucial in spreading the floor.


Sometimes when a team's best offensive player has five fouls, he has to sacrifice himself on the defensive end so that he doesn't foul out and have the team lose him for the rest of the game. He just puts up his arms in a token gesture of defense and lets opponents blow by him to the hole to score.

People fail to understand that this is what the Pacers needed Murphy to do throughout entire games. They couldn't afford any chance that he even get into foul trouble so he played "five foul defense" from tipoff to final buzzer. That's just how valuable he was to this team.

TooBigNdaPaint
10-05-2010, 07:09 PM
Sure they'll be able too. Lance's ball handling isn't that spectacular either. They'll just pressure him all the way up the court..which will result in not great things for the Pacers.

I don't believe this is true for all positions, but I think for PGs it's much better to be small and speedy than big and slow.

Fortunately, there's a better position for him to play on the basketball court. That does not involve him taking care of the ball, defending smaller quicker players, and making decisions for the entire offense. And it does involve him doing what he's best at...scoring. He's a strong guy. I think he'll be strong next to most shooting guards too.

Lance will be just fine at either PG or SG after some additional tutoring from the coaches/practices. He's already improving his defense and we'll see additional improvement over the preseason and in real games. Lance can dominate at the PG position due to his size, physicality, and shooting skill. He's already better than AJ and looks imposing on the court and he can score/finish at the rim against bigger players which none of previous PGs (or Brandon) have ever done. JOB will look for minutes for Lance and will play him more minutes against bigger PGs. I expect a big year from Lance this year. In our free flowing offense, Lance can easily score 25pts on any given night with 6 dimes and 6 rebounds. He just needs to get on the court and use his huge size against the smaller PGs and dominate them. I don't see any of these small guys stopping him. Yes, the bigger PGs will give him a better challenge but Lance will definitely be up to it....hence, the nickname...Born Ready!!! Go LaNce!!!

d_c
10-05-2010, 07:11 PM
Whenever people say there is no defense played in the NBA but there is in college (and it happens all the time especially in March), they need to read articles like this.

1984
10-05-2010, 07:44 PM
Lance is a young cat and needs to be groomed like every one else. He didn't play for a big time college where they focused on fundamentals and defense. He'll come around fairly quickly IF he wants to get on the court and play a few minutes each game. I still think he'll cause some match-up problems and he will definitely be a better matchup against the 6'4" or bigger PGs that run amok in this league. DC at 6'0" (and AJ)will get beat-down and abused by these bigger PGs. Since Lance is much stronger and taller, he'll be the matchup ANSWER to these other big PGs. Can't wait to see Lance matched up with Tyreke Evans again. They ain't played each other since Lance was a runt in 8th Grade and Tyreke was an 11th grader. Now, Lance is 6'5" and should provide great entertainment going up against Tyreke Evans at 6'5" or John Walls at 6'4" or even Deron Williams at 6'3".

Seriously. This argument again? Lance can't play defense and Collison can. Collison won't be abused by Derrick Rose because Collison possesses the great equalizer: speed. Collison's speed will allow him the ability to deny defenders the ball and his quick hands will allow him the ability to harass defenders while on the dribble. Plenty of players have been stingy defenders and undersized.

Let me preface this by saying I have high hope for Lance.

Lance may have been a star in high school, but he was a little more than marginal in college. I hope Lance is the next Dwayne Wade, but it is apparent that he has a long way to go on and OFF the court before he can set foot on an NBA floor and contribute on a nightly basis.

Cheers.

Anthem
10-05-2010, 08:29 PM
Sometimes when a team's best offensive player has five fouls, he has to sacrifice himself on the defensive end so that he doesn't foul out and have the team lose him for the rest of the game. He just puts up his arms in a token gesture of defense and lets opponents blow by him to the hole to score.

People fail to understand that this is what the Pacers needed Murphy to do throughout entire games. They couldn't afford any chance that he even get into foul trouble so he played "five foul defense" from tipoff to final buzzer. That's just how valuable he was to this team.
That's awesome. Post more often.

BlueNGold
10-05-2010, 09:45 PM
Murphy didn't play defense, and he got a lot of minutes.

...and that was a good thing?

With his lead shoes, there is no way Lance can guard PG's throughout the league. I think people need to get that out of their head.

Lance is unlikely to ever be a lock down defender, but if he avoids prison and learns to defend NBA shooting guards adequately, he will be a very good NBA player. If he avoids prison but never defends adequately, he may be a Murphy/Charlie V level talent in the NBA. Still pretty good. It may limit is time on the court of course, but anyone who can fill it up on offense has a spot as a backup in the NBA.

BRushWithDeath
10-05-2010, 10:25 PM
Granger and Dunleavy don't play a lick of defense but it doesn't affect their playing time.

BlueNGold
10-05-2010, 10:37 PM
Granger and Dunleavy don't play a lick of defense but it doesn't affect their playing time.

Lance is worse than Murphy on defense at this point. Granger and Dunleavy are quite a bit better than Murphy. That is where Lance stands right now. The good news for him is, the bar will not be that high (pardon the pun).

MLB007
10-05-2010, 10:39 PM
The good thing is he is looking to learn. He has several Defensive specialists to learn from in brush, posey, and jones.

If he can commit to defense and spend his time learning he will be a top pg in this league within 4 years. If not he will be a bench player. Doesnt matter if he can score 20 if the others team pg can score 25 on him.

:eek: :D :laugh:
the delusion is strong in this one.

BringJackBack
10-05-2010, 10:40 PM
Lance is worse than Murphy on defense at this point. Granger and Dunleavy are quite a bit better than Murphy. That is where Lance stands right now. The good news for him is, the bar will not be that high (pardon the pun).

I'm sorry, but I can not fathom anyone being worse on D than Murphy.

MLB007
10-05-2010, 10:41 PM
What I've read indicates he doesn't have the basic idea how to play team defense and guard the pick and roll. He has to learn the basics before he can hope to contend with the elite. But once he can hold his own in the D league I agree he should be brought up.

That could be awhile. :p

MLB007
10-05-2010, 10:44 PM
Sure Lance cant (and possibly will never be able to) guard the smaller, lightning fast PG's at an average level, but they too wont be able to guard him with his size and strength, therefore I feel that Lance should be used (in the short term) as a kind of offensive spark plug when the offences stagnates. he offers the chance to get some cheap buckets on post ups and 1 on 1 situations

Yeh, cuz the other team will just vacate the paint and let him work over their pg.
....................................... :o

MLB007
10-05-2010, 10:45 PM
Sure they'll be able too. Lance's ball handling isn't that spectacular either. They'll just pressure him all the way up the court..which will result in not great things for the Pacers.

I don't believe this is true for all positions, but I think for PGs it's much better to be small and speedy than big and slow.

Fortunatly, there's a better position for him to play on the basketball court. That does not involve him taking care of the ball, defending smaller quicker players, and making decisions for the entire offense. And it does involve him doing what he's best at...scoring. He's a strong guy. I think he'll be strong next to most shooting guards too.

but still slow next to shooting guards too.

MLB007
10-05-2010, 10:46 PM
Lance will be just fine at either PG or SG after some additional tutoring from the coaches/practices. He's already improving his defense and we'll see additional improvement over the preseason and in real games. Lance can dominate at the PG position due to his size, physicality, and shooting skill. He's already better than AJ and looks imposing on the court and he can score/finish at the rim against bigger players which none of previous PGs (or Brandon) have ever done. JOB will look for minutes for Lance and will play him more minutes against bigger PGs. I expect a big year from Lance this year. In our free flowing offense, Lance can easily score 25pts on any given night with 6 dimes and 6 rebounds. He just needs to get on the court and use his huge size against the smaller PGs and dominate them. I don't see any of these small guys stopping him. Yes, the bigger PGs will give him a better challenge but Lance will definitely be up to it....hence, the nickname...Born Ready!!! Go LaNce!!!

Hey, Pass that over here!!!!! :hmm:

Strummer
10-05-2010, 10:58 PM
That could be awhile. :p

Luckily we have plenty of depth. Barring injuries there shouldn't be any pressure to play Lance this year. If he takes time to develop it shouldn't be a problem...

Next season (or at the trade deadline) we'll be replacing a PG (TJ) and a wing (Dunleavy). That's when Lance will be needed...

Sookie
10-05-2010, 10:59 PM
I'm sorry, but I can not fathom anyone being worse on D than Murphy.

Yea, if he's so bad at D JOB won't even play him....sheesh. (Although, I think there are different standards for vets and rookies.)

BlueNGold
10-05-2010, 11:32 PM
I'm sorry, but I can not fathom anyone being worse on D than Murphy.

Have you seen Lance defend? Ok...no one has seen that. Have you seen him attempt to guard other players? I may have seen the worst of his display, but his feet were like lead. Reminded me of Saras on D, actually....but slower.

Is that worse than Murphy? I think for the moment it is...but I think Lance has to get better. The good news is...what I saw was a disinterested player on D to some extent. I cannot imagine he was trying very hard......but you can tell he's not quick. Certainly no where close enough to guarding an NBA PG...without hacks or matador D.

BlueNGold
10-05-2010, 11:38 PM
Yeh, cuz the other team will just vacate the paint and let him work over their pg.
....................................... :o

Yes. Not many slow 6'5" guys dominate in the paint playing under the rim. This reminds me somewhat of Tyler Hansborough...but a shorter version. Strong as an ox, loves to go to the rack, but is more often than not met there by a big. He obviously will need to adjust his game.

BRushWithDeath
10-06-2010, 12:37 AM
Lance is worse than Murphy on defense at this point. Granger and Dunleavy are quite a bit better than Murphy. That is where Lance stands right now. The good news for him is, the bar will not be that high (pardon the pun).

I'm not saying I think Lance should play. I'm saying that for O'Brien to claim defense is required for playing time rules out our starting wings.

For the record, I don't think highly of Lance at all. He's a great pickup player because he can use his superior strength to score against undisciplined defenses but I haven't seen much that looks like it will translate to the real game.

Wage
10-06-2010, 02:27 AM
I'm sorry, but I can not fathom anyone being worse on D than Murphy.

Pssst, check your avatar ;)

HOOPFANATIC
10-06-2010, 08:11 AM
I don't like to hear that he is good on the offensive end and bad on the defensive end and that means he can't get any minutes. What if we are down and guys shots aren't falling. Obrien did that with Dahntay last year because he wasn't exactly what he wanted offensively. He did it to Joe Johnson when he coached the Cs. Played Eric Strickland. I don't buy into obrien's system.

Trophy
10-06-2010, 08:14 AM
Granger and Dunleavy don't play a lick of defense but it doesn't affect their playing time.

Granger does play defense.

It's just not great. It's average.

MLB007
10-06-2010, 09:51 AM
So does Dunleavy.
But he's below avg athletically, 6'10" playing wing and has had knee problems.....