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Thread: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

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    Default Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    Potential "X-factor" Stephenson begins NBA journey
    Feb. 28, 2011

    There is a long road to travel and many lessons to be learned but at least the journey has begun for Lance Stephenson.

    The talented second-round pick made his NBA debut Sunday in the Pacers' 110-108 overtime loss to Phoenix, playing 4 minutes, 17 seconds before heading to the bench gasping for air.

    "I need to get in better shape," Stephenson said. "I've got to get in game shape. I'm in practice shape right now."

    Coach Frank Vogel has decided to begin Stephenson's initiation process with small steps.

    "He’s getting his feet wet," Vogel said. "We’ll bring him along slow. You’ll probably see more of what we did (Sunday) till we start getting more comfortable and then we’ll decide whether next game he may play (shooting guard). … Just where we are at, just take it as it goes.

    "We’ve felt all along that he can help us, that he is going to be a heck of a player, a heck of a talent. We think during this playoff stretch and in the playoffs he could be a bit of an X-factor, a sizable point guard like that or even what he could do at the two. We just thought it was his time."

    At 6-5, 220 pounds, Stephenson has the size and strength of a shooting guard but the quickness and creativity of a point guard. Ultimately he could offer the Pacers an important option off the bench when they need to match up against bigger backcourts or when they need instant offense.

    Big talent, however, doesn't always translate to big productivity in the NBA. Stephenson must show a grasp of the offense and a commitment to improving his defense.

    "He competes really hard, like any rookie," said Vogel. "He's still picking up rotations. There hasn't been a lot of practice time since training camp so it's going to be a work in progress. He's familiar with everything we do it's just a matter of getting the reps.

    "What he's got to gain is the cohesiveness with his teammates and the speed of the NBA game, which he's used to."


    Stephenson made it clear that, after waiting 57 games for the chance to play at all, he's ready for whatever role Vogel envisions.

    "Whenever coach wants me to play," he said, "I'm going to be happy with the minutes he gives me."

    When Stephenson scored his first NBA points in a pair of free throws with 11:17 left in the first quarter, his family threw confetti in the air to mark the occasion.

    The Pacers hope it was just the beginning of many more good times to come.
    http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/blog_brunner.html


    By Conrad Brunner
    FOXSportsIndiana.com
    Feb. 28, 2011

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Lance Stephenson may well become the team's third guard of the future. For the present, however, A.J. Price is handling the role quite nicely.

    Stephenson made his NBA debut Sunday, playing 4 minutes, 17 seconds in a 110-108 overtime loss to Phoenix. But Price was the Indiana Pacers' most important player, playing the final 20 minutes and guiding the team through a pair of comebacks before falling short at the finish.

    Indiana trailed 82-67 late in the third quarter but Price engineered a 19-7 run, scoring 11 of the points – including three 3-pointers – to get the home team back in the game. He finished with 18 points, five rebounds and an assist in just under 25 minutes.

    "A.J. Price is good enough to be a starter in this league," said Coach Frank Vogel. "I’m never surprised when he gives us a lift and I’ll always stay with a guy that’s red hot. And he was."

    Price had been mired in a shooting slump, going 0-of-12 from the 3-point line and 7-of-31 overall in the previous four games, but a midnight shooting session at Conseco Fieldhouse Saturday helped get his game realigned.

    He made 4-of-6 from the arc against the Suns.

    “My job is to come in, give energy and (Sunday) was to make (Steve) Nash work hard on both ends of the floor," said Price. "He’s a great player. I just wanted to come in and change tempo, try to play at a fast pace and do what I've been doing all year."

    A second-round pick in 2009, Price watched as 2010 second-rounder Stephenson made his first appearance with 2:10 left in the first quarter. He wound up totaling a little more than four minutes of playing time.

    Because of Stephenson's size (6-5, 220) and athleticism, Vogel envisions him as a potential difference-maker down the stretch if he can quickly become accustomed to the speed of the NBA game at both ends of the floor.

    "We're going to have sort of a process of getting his feet wet and getting him comfortable," Vogel said. "He's our third point guard and we don't want to get in a situation where he hasn't played all year and we need him. We also think he could be an X-factor for us down the stretch."

    Stephenson said he is ready for "any role coach wants me to play," but he first must work on his conditioning. He was gasping for breath when removed from the game early in the second quarter.

    "I need to get in better shape," he said. "I've got to get in game shape. I'm in practice shape right now."

    From now on, he'll get that opportunity.
    http://www.foxsportsmidwest.com/02/2...53&feedID=3904

    My favorite parts have been bolded.

    I am excited about Lance Stephenson as I was there to see him play. He's got very deceptive quickness and he has the strength of a linebacker.

    AJ Price is a very good defender. I love watching AJ play when he's on. He's a "True point." His play is crucial to our success. Before TJ Ford was holding us back, and now our back up point guard spot is a positive instead of a negative.
    ...

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    The Last Great Pacer BlueNGold's Avatar
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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    What does "red hot" mean?

    Is Vogel implying that someone could go on a "hot streak"?

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueNGold View Post
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    What does "red hot" mean?

    Is Vogel implying that someone could go on a "hot streak"?
    ya on fire or playing well

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    crazy shinaniganz BringJackBack's Avatar
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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    Interesting about what Vogel said about Lance being an X-Factor. Wonder if that means eventually this year he'll be play about 20 MPG sometimes?

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    Quote Originally Posted by pacer4ever View Post
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    ya on fire or playing well
    He's teasing flox.


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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    I'd really like to see Lance get the bulk of Inferno's minutes....I honestly don't mind if we "sink" with the youngsters...even at the cost of losing ground in the Playoffs. IMHO...the remaining 2 months should be used to evaluate our talent.
    Ash from Army of Darkness: Good...Bad...I'm the guy with the gun.

    This is David West, he is the Honey Badger, West just doesn't give a *****....he's pretty bad *ss cuz he has no regard for any other Player or Team whatsoever.

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    Somewhere in a dark corner DC is getting nervous
    Sittin on top of the world!

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    Quote Originally Posted by 90'sNBARocked View Post
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    Somewhere in a dark corner DC is getting nervous
    You know what, there's been some rumbling about DC losing confidence if he's not finishing the game, and perhaps not being a team player, demanding a trade so he can start (WTF, I seriously doubt a rookie has that much weight.)....

    but yesterday, him and Price walked off the court together, his arm around Price's shoulders.

    I think he was okay with Price closing, and I don't think we have an issue.

    Ironic, being that I'm such a Price fan, how it seems like I've been sticking up for Darren more than just about anyone.

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    The Last Great Pacer BlueNGold's Avatar
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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    DC had better focus on improving his game and keep his attitude in check. He's not that good right now and may be headed to TJ-land before he reaches 25. The main thing is that he needs to involve his team mates much more and start directing the offense rather than darting around launching shots.

    Quite frankly, he's lucky to be starting on this team. IF there is a drop-off with AJ, it is not a significant one. They both call their own number and bring about the same value to the team.

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    DC is gonna get better and improve to be a better PG.

    He passed the ball more last season and got more assists.

    His defense will improve with his speed and good hands to pick the ball for steals.

    He does well and it makes the team better when he slows down the offense and passes the ball for good looks rather than driving towards the hoop and settling like TJ.

    I'm happy we actually have a good PG rotation for the future.
    Last edited by Trophy; 02-28-2011 at 10:24 PM.

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    Quote Originally Posted by Sookie View Post
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    You know what, there's been some rumbling about DC losing confidence if he's not finishing the game, and perhaps not being a team player, demanding a trade so he can start (WTF, I seriously doubt a rookie has that much weight.)....

    but yesterday, him and Price walked off the court together, his arm around Price's shoulders.

    I think he was okay with Price closing, and I don't think we have an issue.

    Ironic, being that I'm such a Price fan, how it seems like I've been sticking up for Darren more than just about anyone.
    Sookie

    Hands down AJ almost won the game for us against Phoenix, He played better than DC, has a better outside shot, plays better D, and less turnovers

    I know we might disagree but I think DC runs the offense a little better.

    AJ has more heart than DC though
    Sittin on top of the world!

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    Quote Originally Posted by 90'sNBARocked View Post
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    Sookie

    Hands down AJ almost won the game for us against Phoenix, He played better than DC, has a better outside shot, plays better D, and less turnovers

    I know we might disagree but I think DC runs the offense a little better.

    AJ has more heart than DC though
    DC actually didn't have a bad game.

    AJ was just on fire and got us back into the game with all his shots.

    I wouldn't say one guy plays with more heart than the other.

    DC is a solid PG when he's not struggling and passes the ball more for good shots rather than take bad ones.

    He runs the offense well when he slows it down and he's more comfortable too. That's what Vogel wants.

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    Quote Originally Posted by 90'sNBARocked View Post
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    AJ has more heart than DC though
    c'mon man.. how can you measure DC or AJ's "heart." DC plays b**** out too. remember the dunks he has had on fast break layups.

    questioning a mans heart is a serious offense

    anyone consider that DC may be hitting a wall. in many ways DC is still a rook or only now has played a full season. 37 games last year (about the same as a college season); 50+ this season.

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    Quote Originally Posted by PacersPride View Post
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    c'mon man.. how can you measure DC or AJ's "heart." DC plays b**** out too. remember the dunks he has had on fast break layups.

    questioning a mans heart is a serious offense

    anyone consider that DC may be hitting a wall. in many ways DC is still a rook or only now has played a full season. 37 games last year (about the same as a college season); 50+ this season.

    That's what I question too.

    Honestly, we've got two good, but young point guards. We're lucky that when one seems to not play that well, the other tends to pick it up. But they're both going to go through their growing pains and rough spots.

    Did anyone ever think that, just maybe, it's easier for a natural scorer like DC to be more effective if stays aggressive and looks for his shot first? It's a hard position to learn, and players tend to gravitate to what they do best. That doesn't mean they can't learn to do other things. Give him some time. Give them both some time.

    I don't know how you measure "heart" AJ's got a lot of it, I know that. Most guys would have quit at this point, with what he's been through. That doesn't mean DC doesn't have a lot of heart. In fact, I think that guy is all effort. That's why, despite the fact that the type of PG he is, isn't my preference, I'll stick up for him. (And cause..I know what a shot hog PG looks like, and trust me, these two ain't it.) I think he's a young guy that'll learn from his mistakes and improve.
    Last edited by Sookie; 02-28-2011 at 11:46 PM.

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    u guys no exactly what I mean by heart

    DC has a way of acting like a brat at times, AJ has had a lot more to endure , while DC was basically handed the starting PG position from day 1
    Sittin on top of the world!

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    [QUOTE=Sookie;1181772]
    Honestly, we've got two good, but young point guards.
    Potentially 3 with Lance having the capabilities to gaurd the bigger pgs, ie. Williams, Westbrook, Billups, Paul. If Lance can play some point, b/u sg, as a utility combo gaurd we have three good young pg's who compliment one another well. i will not go into detail how but each player brings a unique set of skills.


    Did anyone ever think that, just maybe, it's easier for a natural scorer like DC to be more effective if stays aggressive and looks for his shot first? That doesn't mean they can't learn to do other things. Give him some time. Give them both some time.

    Honestly, i dont want DC to be a shot first pg. it comes down to DC needing talent around him. a go to guy other than Danny, I dont think Roy is there yet either.

    Rondo would not be near the player he is today without 3 HOF's around him his first couple of seasons. DC needs more veteran leadership on this team. I think West would be a good sign for this reason as well.. familiarity and experience.


    I don't know how you measure "heart" AJ's got a lot of it, I know that. Most guys would have quit at this point, with what he's been through. That doesn't mean DC doesn't have a lot of heart. In fact, I think that guy is all effort. That's why, despite the fact that the type of PG he is, isn't my preference, I'll stick up for him. (And cause..I know what a shot hog PG looks like, and trust me, these two ain't it.) I think he's a young guy that'll learn from his mistakes and improve.
    he is not my preference either, i like the mark jackson style of pg, with great defense. however, DC does have some championship intangiables i would look for in a point gaurd.. i hope defense becomes one of them.

    DC can score, but defense and being the "floor general" will hopefully improve significantly under a good coaching staff.

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    Quote Originally Posted by PacersPride View Post
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    Honestly, i dont want DC to be a shot first pg. it comes down to DC needing talent around him. a go to guy other than Danny, I dont think Roy is there yet either.
    Well, first of all, we may not have a choice there. He may just be a score first PG.

    However, what I meant was, he's really good at scoring and young guys are going to do what the feel most comfortable doing. This is the whole "letting him grow up" thing.

    90, I know what you mean. But I guess my point is, it's not DC's fault that he was handed the starting spot. The fact that it was given to him doesn't mean that he's not a team guy. That's why I mentioned him walking back/congratulating AJ, after DC hadn't played the last twenty minutes of the game. Sure looked like a good teammate to me.

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    I've been a little down on Collison lately because I was so high on him when we traded for him - the PD hype machine was working overtime this past summer. However, I think we should count our blessings in that we have two point guards (both drafted in 2009) who are arguably starter-material in this league. It's been so long since we've had one, to have two solid players at the 1 is quite a relief. Their youth is just icing on the cake.

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    crazy shinaniganz BringJackBack's Avatar
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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    The hype machine was because he was so good in starter's minutes last year. He played with energy and hit every single mid range shot he took. He found guys on the perimeter, and he and David West would PnR all the time. 19 and 9 for a large stretch of games as a rookie is something to definitely get excited about. Seems as if right now he's an answer, and now the answer though..

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    Gasping for air after playing 4 minutes? A combo guard (being generous here, he is actually a 2 IMO) playing 4 minutes gasping for air? What has he been doing in practice, sitting on the bench learning the game by watching the "vets" practicing? What does he do for cardio, sit on a nearby bench learning about cardio by watching the "vets" do their workouts?

    I understand being tired and a little winded even in a short period of time, especially due to his likely playing harder than he even usually would due to nerves and excitement about his first official time on the floor in an NBA game, but gasping for air??? That is, at the very least, surprising to hear.

    I guess the trainers need to stay on him going forward to encourage proper conditioning for the next few weeks so he can physically be "ready" for the offseason. Maybe he should spend this summer with an actual trainer physically preparing for next year (or whenever the next NBA season ends up being) so that he can be physically ready to start learning the NBA game.

    Maybe Roy and Paul can take him under their wings and show him how to do the required work to get physically ready to play when the opportunity presents itself.

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    I think you may be taking the 'gasping for air' comment a bit too literally.

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    I think you may be taking the 'gasping for air' comment a bit too literally.
    I hope you are right.

    However, it showed up in both articles, and I don't remember the last time I have seen that phrase used with repsect to a player who played such few minutes. I think Bruno thought it to be noteworthy or he wouldn't have stated it that way.

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad8888 View Post
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    Gasping for air after playing 4 minutes? A combo guard (being generous here, he is actually a 2 IMO) playing 4 minutes gasping for air? What has he been doing in practice, sitting on the bench learning the game by watching the "vets" practicing? What does he do for cardio, sit on a nearby bench learning about cardio by watching the "vets" do their workouts?

    I understand being tired and a little winded even in a short period of time, especially due to his likely playing harder than he even usually would due to nerves and excitement about his first official time on the floor in an NBA game, but gasping for air??? That is, at the very least, surprising to hear.

    I guess the trainers need to stay on him going forward to encourage proper conditioning for the next few weeks so he can physically be "ready" for the offseason. Maybe he should spend this summer with an actual trainer physically preparing for next year (or whenever the next NBA season ends up being) so that he can be physically ready to start learning the NBA game.

    Maybe Roy and Paul can take him under their wings and show him how to do the required work to get physically ready to play when the opportunity presents itself.
    There is a big difference between Off Season shape, practice shape, and Game shape my friend. People take for granted how fast paced the NBA is, and for a new player, this isn't an uncommon occurance.

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    Quote Originally Posted by Sookie View Post
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    I think he was okay with Price closing, and I don't think we have an issue.
    I don't understand why he would make since a fuss about not closing earlier in the season and now being ok with it. Any insight?


    @BlueNGold

    I have no clue what your talking about.

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    Default Re: Two articles by Conrad Brunner about Lance Stephenson and AJ Price

    I think it's a combo of, trying really hard to guard Nash/Brooks, not being in game shape, and just plain not being in shape.

    Once again, I think if we played him at his proper position..he could probably play more minutes and get in game shape quicker..

    Edit: I think Collison was making a "fuss" before, because often times he'd be outplaying Ford, and still ride the bench. Similar to how Roy used to get upset. In this case, he understood that AJ had gotten the team back in the game, and should be playing.

    Aka, one situation was fair to DC and the other wasn't.

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