PDA

View Full Version : Stephenson tries to grow on court, off -Mike Wells



Pacerfan
08-03-2011, 02:23 AM
Mike interviews Lance....and it's positive :)

Stephenson tries to grow on court, off
'There are too many temptations' in New York, so guard trains in Indy
Aug 3, 2011 | Comments

Written by
Mike Wells

WHITESTOWN, Ind. -- Lance Stephenson took off up the court with the ball. He dribbled between his legs, then behind his back before swishing a 17-foot jump shot.

Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird and coach Frank Vogel weren't off to the side watching during a workout last week. The only Pacers items inside the church gymnasium were the practice T-shirt and shorts Stephenson wore alongside other NBA and college players.

The second-year guard doesn't have the Pacers coaching staff pushing him through workouts because the NBA's lockout forbids teams from talking to players. Players aren't permitted to use team facilities, either.

Bird referred to Stephenson as the team's "best player" in June and there's a lot of optimism about the prospect of Stephenson maturing on and off the court during what could be a longer offseason.

But the 20-year-old who had just one season of college basketball at Cincinnati is also one of the players team officials worry about the most during the lockout because all lines of communication are cut off.

"It's very hard not being able to talk to those guys," Stephenson said during his most extensive interview since joining the Pacers in June 2010. "I like to keep in contact with everybody so I can show them how hard I'm working to be one of the best players on the team and help the team win."

Stephenson is spending most of the summer in Indianapolis to ensure he doesn't let down Bird.

He's not living in New York because, as he put it, "there are too many temptations to hang out and get off track back at home. It's all about basketball while living here."

Stephenson was involved in a legal issue in Brooklyn, N.Y., last summer. Prosecutors said he pushed his girlfriend down a flight of stairs during an early morning argument. The case was dismissed earlier this year.

Before the July 1 lockout, Stephenson worked out with assistant coach Dan Burke at Conseco Fieldhouse on a regular basis and has since been training at Ed Schilling's basketball academy, doing strength and conditioning work at St. Vincent Sports Performance and playing in the Pro Am Summer League at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

"Everybody thinks I'm immature, but I'm going to prove that's not me," Stephenson said. "I like when somebody puts pressure on me. I take that as a motivation."

Attitude adjustment
Many affiliated with the Pacers organization agree with Bird in saying Stephenson is near the top of the roster talent-wise.

But Stephenson learned last season that there's more to being a successful pro than dribbling a ball and making midrange jump shots.

He didn't handle constructive criticism from his teammates well. He'd counter their comments -- some helpful, others sarcastic -- by being standoffish.

"I took it as they were trying to pick on a rookie and making me do all the little stuff," Stephenson said. "They made me do extra stuff to pick on me. I didn't want to do stuff like taking Gatorade to the bus, and I used to tell them that. Coming from New York, you learn not to take any mess."

It was that same attitude that cost Stephenson playing time in the playoffs.

He was demoted to the fourth point guard on the roster after he violated team rules in early April.

Stephenson missed an opportunity to play against the Chicago Bulls in their first-round series because starting point guard Darren Collison sprained his ankle.

Stephenson wouldn't disclose what he did but said his teammates tried to warn him before he got into trouble.

"That could have been the moment where everybody could've felt how they feel about me now," Stephenson said. "I didn't take it as my teammates were trying to help me until the end of the season. That's when I figured out they were trying to help me. I had mistakes -- I have to learn from it and get better at it."

Going forward
Stephenson's agent is trying to negotiate an overseas contract for his client.

Agent Al Ebanks wants Stephenson to get experience because his NBA resume consists of a mere 114 minutes in 12 games.

"Going overseas is important based on the fact that there's no end in sight to the lockout," Ebanks said. "Lance wants to stay in shape. The holdup is that we're working on a clause that the minute the lockout is lifted, he can go back to the NBA. He's worked his entire life to play in the NBA."

Stephenson will continue to work out in Indianapolis if he doesn't get an overseas deal.

"The biggest thing with him is trying to improve his handles so he can become more of a true point guard," Schilling said. "I think he can be a solid scoring guard, but in order for him to have more of an impact, I think it has to be as a point guard because his size (6-5, 210) and strength can allow him to be special there."

The Pacers expect Stephenson to compete for a rotation spot in a backcourt that has Collison, Paul George, A.J. Price, George Hill and Brandon Rush.

"I'm going to continue working hard, like every day is my last day so when the lockout is over, it's an easy transition back for me," Stephenson said. "Last year was a learning experience. Now I want to prove to the team that I'm physically and mentally ready to help us win games."

http://www.indystar.com/article/20110803/SPORTS04/108030318/Stephenson-tries-grow-court-off?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|IndyStar.com|s



It really seems Lance is maturing and finally understanding that the people around him are there to help him. I would probably be the happiest person here if he takes off next year. He definitely has the talent... he just needs to understand how to refine it and put his head on straight. Please prove us all wrong Lance... if you're reading this, Pacers' fans went thru Ron's shenanigans and really don't have time for any BS. If you make it thru the year without doing anything dumb and keep improving, Pacer fans will embrace you.

pacer4ever
08-03-2011, 03:33 AM
That was a good read Wells had me interested one of his better articles in awhile IMO.

Peck
08-03-2011, 04:46 AM
Don't anybody take this the wrong way but talk is cheap, talk is easy.

I hope that he backs up that talk with action and understands that this has to be a lifestyle change, not just a one time action that he will be able to drop once he gets a spot in the rotation.

I do see the talent, unlike some I actually believe that if he could get a handle on his handles (ha, see how I did that) he could be a very good point guard and a point guard the likes of which we haven't seen in years (a point guard with actual size).

But with Lance, much like David Harrison was, its not the basketball talent that is in question.

Speed
08-03-2011, 05:03 AM
The huge thing to me was the acknowledgement that he handled being a teammate badly and recognized guys were trying to help him not just bust his chops. Hard to understand that when you grow up trying to not let people get over on you. Otherwise, I agree with Peck, proofs in the pudding.

graphic-er
08-03-2011, 08:27 AM
This dude is a gonna cause alot of troubles for the Pacers rotation next year, he is gonna blow up and cause a whole bunch of PT issues with the other guards.

BringJackBack
08-03-2011, 08:31 AM
^Isn't that a good thing?!

The Lance hate has become comical. Mike Wells, who used to despise Lance, made an article about his growth. How can there be any negativity out of it?

graphic-er
08-03-2011, 08:37 AM
^Isn't that a good thing?!

The Lance hate has become comical. Mike Wells, who used to despise Lance, made an article about his growth. How can there be any negativity out of it?

It was a joke. Forgot the green.

I think last year was a huge transition for Lance, he was no longer the best player on a team. I'm sure through out his entire Amateur career he was the best player on his team and he was the one telling others what to do here and there. So for him to react so negatively towards the vet's guidance is pretty much expected for me. Honestly he is just like every 20 year old in the history of the world. Everyone at the age of 20 thinks they are a know it all and doesn't want to be helped by anyone, and most end up learning over time that you take all the help you can get.

BringJackBack
08-03-2011, 08:42 AM
Hahahahahahahaha! Good one, I love it, man.

vnzla81
08-03-2011, 09:01 AM
Cut him ..........

bphil
08-03-2011, 09:04 AM
I've said it before and I'll say it again... I think Lance is going to be really, really good. And I also think he's going to destroy this team.

Artest part deux.

graphic-er
08-03-2011, 09:08 AM
I've said it before and I'll say it again... I think Lance is going to be really, really good. And I also think he's going to destroy this team.

Artest part deux.

That's a bit melodramatic, he is a 2nd rounder. He is cheap to get rid of.

bphil
08-03-2011, 09:16 AM
That's a bit melodramatic, he is a 2nd rounder. He is cheap to get rid of.

Sure, unless he blossoms over the next few years, we sign him to a big contract, and then he loses his mind...

Again, Artest part deux.

BillS
08-03-2011, 09:28 AM
I hope that he backs up that talk with action and understands that this has to be a lifestyle change, not just a one time action that he will be able to drop once he gets a spot in the rotation.

I think the action of staying in Indiana even with a lockout is a lot more than lip service. The things he has problems with aren't like drug issues, where you can get into trouble pretty much anywhere. They require party environment (which he seems to be staying away from), teammates and stress of season (which we won't see until the time comes), and an enabling posse (who don't seem to be here with him).

I'm encouraged by it, but thrice burned forever shy, as they say.

90'sNBARocked
08-03-2011, 09:37 AM
Don't anybody take this the wrong way but talk is cheap, talk is easy.

I agre and time will tell, but

SO FAR, he seems to be real with his commitment

I worry much more about what will happen if Lance "gets it" and produces at a high rate on the court

Will he be able to stay humble, not get a big head , and remember what he had to overcome

or will he revert back to the pampered youth he once was?

Time will tell, but so far so good

and I can definitley relate to the temptations of going back to NYC, although S Jax, and Tins certainly found enough troubble to get into in Nap :)

RLeWorm
08-03-2011, 10:08 AM
Not surprising. I already knew he was good

NuffSaid
08-03-2011, 10:14 AM
Lance Stephenson could have come out of his rookie year thinking, "I don't care what they think. I'm still gonna do me". Instead, he's taken the time to think things through and seems to realize there are but two impressions you can make with your team - a good impression or a bad impression. And up til now, he's put on a not-so-good impression of himself.

It's good to hear he "gets it" and is starting to do things to turn himself around. What's more impressive here is he's doing it without team assistance. His words are encouraging. I hope he continues on a positive growth and maturity path because if he's as good as they say he is I'd really like to see if this kid is our version of Kobe.

pacergod2
08-03-2011, 10:40 AM
I'd like to see him as our "Deron Williams", not Kobe. :D I think our team could be really good if he turns into a legitimate PG. I think with our young roster, he could end up being the back court upgrade we are looking for through his development. We still need a game changer in the front court. A starting PF who can move over to center with Hans (and maybe McRoberts). Tyson Chandler and Nene are both the type of effective players that don't need the ball to earn their court time.

Eddie Gill
08-03-2011, 10:52 AM
I don't mean to get off topic, but the whole issue of NBA teams not being allowed to have contact with players during the lockout got me thinking: couldn't a team 'fire' some of their personel before the official lockout - allowing those individuals to have 'personal contact' (not in a Candy kinda way, i didnt intend for that to sound dirty) - and simply re-hire them once the new deal is reached?

thatch3232
08-03-2011, 11:07 AM
I don't mean to get off topic, but the whole issue of NBA teams not being allowed to have contact with players during the lockout got me thinking: couldn't a team 'fire' some of their personel before the official lockout - allowing those individuals to have 'personal contact' (not in a Candy kinda way, i didnt intend for that to sound dirty) - and simply re-hire them once the new deal is reached?

pretty sure they would get fined big for that...could be wrong tho

Hicks
08-03-2011, 11:46 AM
Yeah, that wouldn't work because the league isn't stupid; they'd just wait and fine you for it once the league is back in operation (assuming you do re-hire said person).

MnvrChvy
08-03-2011, 01:33 PM
That's funny because I was just thinking that that is what Wells is doing. Basically Lance needed to communicate back to TPTB that he is on the right track. Mission Accomplished.
Seriously though, if Larry needs a better conduit, I'm willing to pass Lance a note.
"Are you behaving?
(P.S. Do you want to be my friend? Check yes or no.)"

McKeyFan
08-03-2011, 02:01 PM
I'd like to see him as our "Deron Williams", not Kobe. :D I think our team could be really good if he turns into a legitimate PG. I think with our young roster, he could end up being the back court upgrade we are looking for through his development. We still need a game changer in the front court. A starting PF who can move over to center with Hans (and maybe McRoberts). Tyson Chandler and Nene are both the type of effective players that don't need the ball to earn their court time.

I don't see Lance ever being as sophisticated or classy as Kobe or Deron Williams.

I see Zach Randolph as his character ceiling. Which I'd take.

Reginald
08-03-2011, 03:35 PM
I don't see Lance ever being as sophisticated or classy as Kobe...

But do you see him being a sodomizing adulterer?

Hicks
08-03-2011, 03:59 PM
But do you see him being a sodomizing adulterer?

Well, in this case, the roles have already been reversed.....

King Tuts Tomb
08-03-2011, 07:05 PM
I just finished reading the book "Play Their Hearts Out." It follows one AAU coach and his best player for almost a decade through the AAU circuit and all the tournaments and recruiting they go through. It's a really amazing book and it has some good stuff about Lance, who was in the same high school class as the kids in the book. I'll look back through it later and post some of the stuff here but it's a great book even without the Lance stuff and I recommend it to anyone interested in the way players get to the league.

NapTonius Monk
08-03-2011, 08:12 PM
Don't anybody take this the wrong way but talk is cheap, talk is easy.

I hope that he backs up that talk with action and understands that this has to be a lifestyle change, not just a one time action that he will be able to drop once he gets a spot in the rotation.

I do see the talent, unlike some I actually believe that if he could get a handle on his handles (ha, see how I did that) he could be a very good point guard and a point guard the likes of which we haven't seen in years (a point guard with actual size).

But with Lance, much like David Harrison was, its not the basketball talent that is in question.David Harrison was talented? :eek:

Anthem
08-03-2011, 08:56 PM
David Harrison was tall but had very short arms that made things somewhat harder. There were some basketball reasons he struggled.

That said, I agree with Peck and I don't. Sure, talk is cheap, but when somebody says "I made a mistake because I failed to understand X but I get it now and it won't happen again" then it's slightly different. Precision makes me take that more seriously.

Pacergeek
08-04-2011, 09:58 AM
Born Ready in the PG of the future. He is a 1 with the body of a big 2. Prototype NBA pg. I like DC, but Lance is a superior passer. I really hope there is a season so Lance can shine.

Pacergeek
08-04-2011, 10:01 AM
David Harrison was talented? :eek:

People forget that Born Ready was ranked as high as future all stars Wall and Cousins coming out of HS. I don't think Harrison was ever that hot of a prospect.

BRushWithDeath
08-04-2011, 10:11 AM
But do you see him being a sodomizing adulterer?

He's already been a sodomized adulterer.

ECKrueger
08-04-2011, 11:31 PM
I agree that he still has to back up what he is saying, but dang it sounds like something clicked or is starting to at least. He is doing every thing you could ask at this point. Staying in Indy is a huge positive sign in my eyes. Plus, he knows he can get into trouble in NY, and knows he has made mistakes obviously. As stated:

He's not living in New York because, as he put it, "there are too many temptations to hang out and get off track back at home. It's all about basketball while living here."

Then I also love the transition from this:

"I took it as they were trying to pick on a rookie and making me do all the little stuff," Stephenson said. "They made me do extra stuff to pick on me. I didn't want to do stuff like taking Gatorade to the bus, and I used to tell them that. Coming from New York, you learn not to take any mess."

To this:

"That could have been the moment where everybody could've felt how they feel about me now," Stephenson said. "I didn't take it as my teammates were trying to help me until the end of the season. That's when I figured out they were trying to help me. I had mistakes -- I have to learn from it and get better at it."

Like I said, this does not mean he is definitely changed, but he is certainly saying and doing just about every thing you could hope for. Just admitting and realizing his mistakes and attitude issues is a sign of maturity to me. Hopefully he can communicate with some players and clear up any outstanding issues they may have and really prove his maturity to them, not just Mike Wells.

Sparhawk
08-05-2011, 10:45 AM
I think talk is cheap coming from someone who has a checkered past, but he definitely has been walking the walk so to speak. He's been making a huge effort to grow as a person, but ultimately only time will tell if this is a short change or long term change.

Lance is going to show that it was mistake for other teams to pass on him. Glad he's a Pacer.

BlueNGold
08-06-2011, 09:11 AM
I think the action of staying in Indiana even with a lockout is a lot more than lip service. The things he has problems with aren't like drug issues, where you can get into trouble pretty much anywhere. They require party environment (which he seems to be staying away from), teammates and stress of season (which we won't see until the time comes), and an enabling posse (who don't seem to be here with him).

I'm encouraged by it, but thrice burned forever shy, as they say.

I tend to think Lance might not have a posse...that he's a bit of a loner. That might actually work to his advantage.

Jose Slaughter
08-07-2011, 04:05 AM
I'm reminded of an article about Stephen Jackson. It was posted on NBA.com a couple weeks before his final season here.... if I remember right.

During the off season he gathered all his children in Atlanta to show how much of a family man he was. He mentioned that he wanted to be a better pro & learn from his past mistkes. To put that lifestyle behind him & focus on team & family.

The following week he was blasting away in a bar's parking lot at 3 in the morning.

As has been mentioned, talk is cheap.

I hope the kid gets it, for his sake, his teams & the city's.

BlueNGold
08-07-2011, 08:18 AM
Yes, Jose. Talk is cheap. If it weren't, Jermaine would have us 5 or 6 championships by now.

Seriously though. It is better that the talk be "good" rather than "bad". But it really doesn't amount to much by itself. IOW, I will believe it only once I see it play out. Until then, I am waiting for the next incident (whatever that might be) and hoping we somehow trade him. I do love the potential he might bring but I'm tired of the reruns.

PacerDude
08-07-2011, 11:03 AM
............. I am waiting for the next incident (whatever that might be) and hoping we somehow trade him.Rather pessimistic - isn't it ??

The kid was coddled his entire life (well, at least since he showed what he could do ON the court ........) and was never held accountable for anything. Now that he's just another ball player, maybe we can give him the benefit of the doubt and hope that the light HAS gone on and he realizes that he IS accountable for his actions. If so, we just might have a ball player on our hands.

We've all been perfect our entire lives - haven't we ? We've all continued to live a life of stupidity, invincibility and arrogance - right ?? We've all just remained bad people - haven't we ???

Give the kid a chance.