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Thread: Why starting Stephenson at PG could be a smart move for the Pacers' future(indystar)

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    Default Why starting Stephenson at PG could be a smart move for the Pacers' future(indystar)

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    Why starting Stephenson at PG could be a smart move for the Pacers' future

    The more I think about it, the more I'm leaning toward this opinion: I want to see more of Lance Stephenson.

    He played well in summer league. We all know that by now. He's 6-5 with a 6-11 wingspan. He's a guy who has been groomed to play in the NBA since he was, oh, probably 14. So let's find out what he can do.

    Now.

    Not next year.

    Not three years down the road. (Seriously, how much more substantial information do we have about Brandon Rush that we didn't have two years ago with all this in-and-out-of-the-lineup silliness?)

    My thinking on Stephenson goes something along these lines:

    First, this season means next to nothing to the Pacers. Their whole Plan of Patience is to have salary cap space next summer. So if they win 20, 30 or 40 games this year, it changes little, except one potential item we'll get to in a bit.

    Second, Larry Bird keeps saying he wants a point guard. The Pacers have Stephenson, their second-round pick; A.J. Price, last year's second-round pick; and T.J. Ford on the roster, with Earl Watson out there as a free agent.

    The only real unknown in that group is Stephenson. Next year, neither Ford nor Price is going to bring much of anything as trade bait especially since Ford will be a free agent, so there is no reason to showcase them. Coach Jim O'Brien already has ticked off Ford to no end, and Price is coming along, but if it doesn't work out with a second-round pick, so be it. Which brings us back to Stephenson.

    Third, Stephenson has been groomed to be an NBA player since he hit high school. I was at the ABCD camp in New Jersey the summer of 2005 when this kid who hadn't entered high school went toe to toe with O.J. Mayo, who at the time had the rep as the best prep guard in the nation.

    Stephenson lost that battle to the guy a little more than three years older, but that was the biggest buzz from the entire camp. Lance Stephenson had the gall to go after O.J.? For real?

    I remember talking to some of the New York basketball mafia about Stephenson that week and the stories were amazing. So were the hangers-on, which, unfortunately, also often is part of the New York basketball scene.

    "That kid's in trouble," one NYC insider told me at the time.

    "Why," I asked.

    "Look at the shoes around him," I was told. "Lot of money in those shoes. Lot of money around that kid."

    So many questions surrounded Stephenson for several reasons that many colleges backed away from recruiting him, and he ended up at Cincinnati for a year. Everyone who knew the people in his ear knew he was going pro after one year, regardless of how that year went.

    So I don't put much stock in what he did or didn't do at Cincinnati. That was never the focus of the whole exercise. This - the NBA - was. So let's see what he's got for this level. I'm not saying he's better than Ford or Price at this point. A clear case could be made he's not. I'm saying, given the Pacers circumstances, it's almost a perfect storm of an opportunity to find out what he can do given some real time.

    Think about it. How much buzz would there be if, say in January, the rookie point guard is playing well? Think that wouldn't get a fan base excited?

    Fourth - and this is where it really gets fun - if he flops and flat out can't get it done, fine. Now we know. Or if he's starting to get it but the Pacers are losing, they can say something like, 'Hey, we want him to get experience and we're going to accept the losses. We're not going to yank him in and out the way we did with Rush and Roy Hibbert.'

    Either way, there is an enormous potential benefit to massive losses because if there was ever a year for a team needing a point guard to totally tank it, this is it.

    In the draft next year should be three freshman who look like starting NBA point guards for years to come in Josh Shelby, Kyrie Irving and Brandon Knight. All should be top-10 picks. Shelby already has said he plans to go pro after his one year in college.

    The 6-2 Shelby is going to Kansas, the 6-2 Irving to Duke, the 6-3 Knight to Kentucky. And that's in addition to current collegians such as Connecticut's Kemba Walker, who could play their way up the board.

    Fall into the 2011 lottery and your chances of getting one of those main three should be pretty good. That could be your point guard of the future.

    And it gives you multiple chances in the draft instead of one in the idiotic idea proposed by some that Kentucky freshman John Wall was the guy the Pacers should go after. Wall was going to be the No. 1 pick. The Pacers had no way of getting the No. 1 pick. What did the Pacers and Wall ever have to do with one another? Nothing.

    However, if you fall into the lottery next year with three future starting point guards on the board, your chances of getting one of them are pretty good.

    Then you've got your point guard of the future, plenty of salary cap space, potential additional trade bait in Stephenson and your back-up point guard of the future in Price.

    It's a win-win.

    If Stephenson is good, Pacers fans celebrate, they found their point guard of the future and have a ton of cap space.

    If Stephenson is bad, Pacers fans celebrate, they're in the lottery and have a real chance at Irving, Selby or Knight and a ton of cap space.

    Could make the summer of 2011 pretty good for the Pacers.

    www.twitter.com/JeffRabjohns

    (Mike Wells will be out of the office the week of July 18-24.)
    Last edited by vnzla81; 07-19-2010 at 02:37 PM.

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    Default Jeff Rabjohns on Lance Stephenson and the PG situation

    *edit* See above; threads merged

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    Default Re: Jeff Rabjohns on Lance Stephenson and the PG situation


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    Default Re: Jeff Rabjohns on Lance Stephenson and the PG situation

    I think that since there is an acceptable veteran point guard on the team at this time, this is possible at PG in a way it is not at other positions.

    That said, IF AJ comes back healthy, if a newer guy is going to start at PG I'd want it to be AJ's job to lose.

    Also, if the Pacers are able to trade certain players for a journeyman PG who can start and show AJ and Lance more of the ropes, I'd take that. You can't learn in a vacuum, and - at PG especially - having a veteran player at the position around to give you direct pointers in practice and during games is vital.

    Now let the : begin...
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    Default Re: Jeff Rabjohns on Lance Stephenson and the PG situation

    If Jim O'brien's choice is Ford or Lance (assuming AJ is still recovering from injury, and no other point guard is signed) then I think Jim will give Lance heavy minutes.

    I know many of you think Jim hates rookies (I don't agree with that assertion) but he hates Ford more

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    Default Re: Jeff Rabjohns on Lance Stephenson and the PG situation

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    If Jim O'brien's choice is Ford or Lance (assuming AJ is still recovering from injury, and no other point guard is signed) then I think Jim will give Lance heavy minutes.

    I know many of you think Jim hates rookies (I don't agree with that assertion) but he hates Ford more
    last year,

    Price, second round draft pick rookie, outplayed Ford and Watson in practice. And didn't earn time.

    Out played Ford in the one game before Ford's benching, and didn't earn time (after being promised time.)

    Was the best PG of the three to run JOB's offense (because he's more veristile and a better shooter than Watson, and just better than Ford)

    He clearly outplayed Ford when he got a month of playing time. And yet, when Ford made a couple of threes..Jimmy STILL pulled AJ for Ford.


    So you really think, that Jimmy is going to start Lance. A guy who can't shoot. A guy who isn't a PG right now. A second round draft pick, although not a point guard, in favor of Ford. I don't see it.

    I think if Price is healthy, he'd get the job. As I don't think Jimmy hates Price, and now that AJ is not a rookie, before the injury..if there was no trade, it was probably AJ's spot to lose.

    So personally, I think, if there isn't a trade. TJ will play with Lance getting limited minutes, until AJ's medically cleared to play. Then he'll go with AJ/TJ..until TJ drives him too nuts, and he'll switch to Lance.

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    Default Re: Jeff Rabjohns on Lance Stephenson and the PG situation

    i agree 1000% with the article.

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    Default Re: Jeff Rabjohns on Lance Stephenson and the PG situation

    Quote Originally Posted by Sookie View Post
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    last year,

    Price, second round draft pick rookie, outplayed Ford and Watson in practice. And didn't earn time.

    Out played Ford in the one game before Ford's benching, and didn't earn time (after being promised time.)

    Was the best PG of the three to run JOB's offense (because he's more veristile and a better shooter than Watson, and just better than Ford)

    He clearly outplayed Ford when he got a month of playing time. And yet, when Ford made a couple of threes..Jimmy STILL pulled AJ for Ford.


    So you really think, that Jimmy is going to start Lance. A guy who can't shoot. A guy who isn't a PG right now. A second round draft pick, although not a point guard, in favor of Ford. I don't see it.

    I think if Price is healthy, he'd get the job. As I don't think Jimmy hates Price, and now that AJ is not a rookie, before the injury..if there was no trade, it was probably AJ's spot to lose.

    So personally, I think, if there isn't a trade. TJ will play with Lance getting limited minutes, until AJ's medically cleared to play. Then he'll go with AJ/TJ..until TJ drives him too nuts, and he'll switch to Lance.
    I hate to agree......but unless we sign a stop-gap PG....we're looking at AJ/TJ/Lance where Lance is on the short end of the stick.
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    Default Re: Why starting Stephenson at PG could be a smart move for the Pacers' future(indystar)

    If he starts and plays well, and the Pacers play well, he could be an interesting rookie of the year candidate. Has there ever been a 2nd round player as ROY?

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    Default Re: Jeff Rabjohns on Lance Stephenson and the PG situation

    Quote Originally Posted by CableKC View Post
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    I hate to agree......but unless we sign a stop-gap PG....we're looking at AJ/TJ/Lance where Lance is on the short end of the stick.
    The only issue with the stop gap...is if we'd end up with..

    stop gap/Price

    or stop gap/Ford

    because if Price and Lance ended up on the bench with no minutes...

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    Default Re: Jeff Rabjohns on Lance Stephenson and the PG situation

    Quote Originally Posted by crunk-juice View Post
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    i agree 1000% with the article.
    Yeah, well I agree 10000000%!

    Seriously, throw the damn kid in the deep end. If he sinks we get a top 5 pick and if he swims he have our PG. Even JOB can get this one right... right?

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    Default Re: Why starting Stephenson at PG could be a smart move for the Pacers' future(indystar)

    I think they are certain going to try and play TJ this season and hope for the best. If anything they need to re-establish that TJ Ford has some trade value if they hope to shop him at the trade deadline.

    I think you will see AJ on the short end of the stick with Lance being the primary back up. Because Lance will have had a training camp, while price is going to be rehabbing during that time. JOB puts alot of importance on training camp.

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    Default Re: Why starting Stephenson at PG could be a smart move for the Pacers' future(indystar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Staverman View Post
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    I watched the summer league games and what I like about Lance is not only the fact that he has some nice point guard skills but what stood out to me were his intangibles. I just got the feeling that he embraced the challenge of taking over leading the team at the point. It seemed he felt like the point was his best position to play and his job to lose.

    While a lot of the rookies took a while to adjust he seemed to be ready to play as soon as the 1st game started. I also noticed he wasn’t intimidated or timid in his play at any point.

    I believe his attitude and confidence built up from playing against older players and being in the spotlight while growing up will allow him to be able to handle a spot in the rotation from day one.

    I for one hope he is the starter on day one because I see no downside. Best case scenario is he gets better and better and exceeds everyone’s expectation and becomes our point guard of the future. Worst case he struggles and we win 25-30 games and get in better position to draft one of the point guards coming out next year.

    Where have I heard that before?

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    Default Re: Why starting Stephenson at PG could be a smart move for the Pacers' future(indystar)

    I am for giving it a try and see what happens, what do we have to lose? Besides games of course...
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    Default Re: Why starting Stephenson at PG could be a smart move for the Pacers' future(indystar)

    I'll say this, I want to do whatever it takes to improve in the future, be future oriented.

    However, Lance can't be put in a situation where he's in over his head and AJ shouldn't play until he's physically ready. I think we'll all at least agree on the latter.

    I'm all about baptism by fire, but to make Lance the starter, he needs to be at least close to ready to hold his own or he could revert to bad habits or your returns start to diminish on what you are learning.

    So all of this talk needs to be based on whether Lance shows he's capable and if AJ shows he can carry any sort of load, minute wise.

    I'm not worried about Lance being able to handle the spot light, he's been under the microscope most of is life. I'm worried that he learns to play the right way and gets to have realized success based on playing the right way.

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    Default Re: Why starting Stephenson at PG could be a smart move for the Pacers' future(indystar)

    Quote Originally Posted by pwee31 View Post
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    If he starts and plays well, and the Pacers play well, he could be an interesting rookie of the year candidate. Has there ever been a 2nd round player as ROY?
    Not that I can see from the 2-round drafts we have now:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_Roo...the_Year_Award

    Even in looking at a year like 1957, there were 14 rounds for only 83 players. Your optimism is nice, but I can't see Lance on the Pacers doing any better than Wall on the Wizards. Only time will tell lol

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    Default Re: Why starting Stephenson at PG could be a smart move for the Pacers' future(indystar)

    Quote Originally Posted by Speed View Post
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    I'll say this, I want to do whatever it takes to improve in the future, be future oriented.

    However, Lance can't be put in a situation where he's in over his head and AJ shouldn't play until he's physically ready. I think we'll all at least agree on the latter.

    I'm all about baptism by fire, but to make Lance the starter, he needs to be at least close to ready to hold his own or he could revert to bad habits or your returns start to diminish on what you are learning.

    So all of this talk needs to be based on whether Lance shows he's capable and if AJ shows he can carry any sort of load, minute wise.

    I'm not worried about Lance being able to handle the spot light, he's been under the microscope most of is life. I'm worried that he learns to play the right way and gets to have realized success based on playing the right way.
    I agree, right now, it's very wait and see.

    TJ is the only actual PG on the roster, that can actually play.

    Lance has to convert, and throwing him in there with a backup like TJ (who is also going to fail misreably) might not be that great of an idea. I was in favor of throwing the other younger guys into the wolves. Because they are NBA ready, mature, high bball IQ players. Lance is still quite young, just throwing him in there, with the only person to learn from being TJ..uh..sounds like a bad idea. (particularly since, it would also be a good idea to play him on the wing for a few minutes too..and I've already said..plzgodno TJ/Lance together.)

    With Price. If he was healthy, he would be the best PG on the roster, at the moment. However, he's not. And although the broken bone shouldn't effect his athleticism. We don't know how long it'll take to heal (we're crossing our fingers for October) and perhaps, we don't know how long it'll take AJ to mentally heal from it. This is the second time he has driven to the basket, and his knee gave in. This isn't the typical broken bone. He didn't fall on it, no one hit it..it just broke when he was running. That's weird (although more than likely related to the ACL reconstruction), and I would think probably mentally harder to get over than actually breaking it on something. So we really have to see how he plays, whether he can handle a lot of minutes or not.

    So my guess is still simply, Ford will get the starting spot, Price (when healthy) will back him up. Stephenson will get a few minutes at SG, maybe. Until about decemebr/January, when JOB has had it with Ford, and Price will get way too many minutes and Lance will get the backup minutes. Ford will be benched and happy to leave town.

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    Default Re: Why starting Stephenson at PG could be a smart move for the Pacers' future(indystar)

    I am cautiously on board with Mr. Rabjohns.

    If we have Lance and TJ out there for the start of the season, I'd rather get TJ out there first. Lance will get his time, because like Buck said, O'Brien has it out for Ford.

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    Default Re: Jeff Rabjohns on Lance Stephenson and the PG situation

    Quote Originally Posted by BillS View Post
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    I think that since there is an acceptable veteran point guard on the team at this time, this is possible at PG in a way it is not at other positions.

    That said, IF AJ comes back healthy, if a newer guy is going to start at PG I'd want it to be AJ's job to lose.

    Also, if the Pacers are able to trade certain players for a journeyman PG who can start and show AJ and Lance more of the ropes, I'd take that. You can't learn in a vacuum, and - at PG especially - having a veteran player at the position around to give you direct pointers in practice and during games is vital.

    Now let the : begin...
    This is 100% where I am on this. I'm cool with giving Lance major minutes, but what I don't want is to not have someone around who he can learn from. Before you know it he could have developed certain in-game habbits that really could be tough to "unlearn" again.

    A veteran PG for the minimum is what we should be able to get this summer. Maybe an Antonio Daniels, Kevin Ollie. That sort of players.
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    Default Re: Why starting Stephenson at PG could be a smart move for the Pacers' future(indystar)

    I'm not down. He shouldn't be playing PG full time, at all. He can play backup minutes at the point, fine. Yet, I still don't want him taking George's minutes at SG/SF either.

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    Default Re: Why starting Stephenson at PG could be a smart move for the Pacers' future(indystar)

    This is a very good article. If we start the season out with our current lineup and AJ is still not ready to go, then Lance should be the man.
    We really have nothing to lose. We already suck, if we suck next year, then Bird can just say we are still within the three plan. Then we get to draft a top rated PG next year.

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    Default Re: Jeff Rabjohns on Lance Stephenson and the PG situation

    Quote Originally Posted by BillS View Post
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    I think that since there is an acceptable veteran point guard on the team at this time, this is possible at PG in a way it is not at other positions.
    That should have read "...since there is NOT an acceptable veteran..." - I think it was read properly by the folks who quoted it even though I left out the wurd.
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    Default Re: Why starting Stephenson at PG could be a smart move for the Pacers' future(indystar)

    Quote Originally Posted by duke dynamite View Post
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    O'Brien has it out for Ford.
    Let's not make O'Brien out to be the bad guy in the Ford situation, it's a two way street.

    Here's my take on the PG situation: I don't ever want to see T.J. Ford play again in a Pacers uniform. I don't care who else is on the roster. I don't care who's healthy. I'd rather buy him out and re-sign Diener for the vet. minimum. T.J. Ford is not a terrible basketball player, but in the current system (and in the locker room) he's much more of a negative than a positive.

    Honestly, if our PG's are Ford, Price, and Stephenson at the beginning of the year, we should just let the other 12 players vote on the starter. I'd bet $1,000 that it wouldn't be Ford.
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    Default Re: Why starting Stephenson at PG could be a smart move for the Pacers' future(indystar)

    The best piece on the Pacers that I have ever seen Rabjohns write.

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    Default Re: Why starting Stephenson at PG could be a smart move for the Pacers' future(indystar)

    "If Stephenson is bad, Pacers fans celebrate, they're in the lottery and have a real chance at Irving, Selby or Knight and a ton of cap space."

    I'm hearing a lot of applause from people, considering the writer is suggesting that starting him is a possible way to tank the season, getting a better draft pick, and that is apparently a very good thing.

    Every year the tanking discussion comes up, and people who suggest tanking are blasted on this forum.

    I guess I don't get it.
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