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Thread: Pigs are flying!

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    RING THE BELL! Sandman21's Avatar
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    Default Pigs are flying!

    http://www.indystar.com/article/2013...ing-off-Pacers

    I was wrong about Lance Stephenson.

    I’m sure I have lots of company, there.

    When the Indiana Pacers took him in the second round of the 2010 draft — and gave him a guaranteed contract — I thought Larry Bird was hitting the liquor cabinet. Stephenson was a too-typical New York City schoolboy who thought the world revolved around his very being. He was Mr. “Born Ready,” an immature kid who not only didn’t listen to coaches but got into some ugly skirmishes off the court.

    He didn’t seem to fit, especially with a franchise that was still trying to dust off the debris from The Brawl and other misdemeanors. At the very least, it was a leap of faith, a huge risk, even in the second round. Deemed untouchable and uncoachable, then-team President Larry Bird fell in love with Stephenson’s raw — emphasis on raw — talent.

    Early on, it was a disaster. He never played. “Born Ready” was born to sit. There were off-the-court problems, and he didn’t fit in the locker room with grown men. Roy Hibbert recently described Stephenson as an “(expletive)” in those early years, and there were altercations involving Stephenson and teammates.

    But now, this season and in this postseason, Stephenson is emerging as a glue guy, a do-it-all shooting guard who can defend, rebound, make plays slashing to the rim and push the ball up the floor.

    I was wrong. A lot of us were wrong.

    It took awhile, the better part of three years, but Stephenson has, after some fits and starts, become a pro. Still rough around the edges, still capable of exploding at a moment’s notice, but he’s grown.

    “He’s allowing himself to be coached now; that’s the biggest thing,” said assistant coach Brian Shaw, who works closely with Stephenson among others. “Up until he got to this level, I’m pretty sure he was able to do whatever he wanted to do. Coaches just wanted to please him. He was so physically gifted, he had his way all the time. So he was defiant in a lot of ways, which isn’t completely uncommon with a young player.

    “... But now he’s finally showing he’s soaked things in and getting it, and he’s having success and liking it. He’s figuring out where he fits with this team.”

    Where he fits, more than anywhere, is on the boards and on the defensive end. Stephenson has now had double-digit rebounds in three straight playoff games, but even more, the Knicks shot 39 percent when he was on the floor in Game 1 and 69 percent when he wasn’t, according to ESPN Stats and Info. When second-leading scorer J.R. Smith was in the game, Stephenson was his responsibility.

    It goes beyond the X’s and O’s, though, the fact Stephenson is hitting the defensive boards and learning to do all the little things. It’s the larger picture, the growth into becoming something resembling a professional.

    “He’s night and day from where he used to be,” Frank Vogel said. “Talking about being on time, the demeanor you have to have in practice, how to carry yourself in the locker room, being respectful to teammates. He’s grown a lot in those areas.”

    You’re never going to get Stephenson to wax philosophical on any subject. He’s obliging enough — he looks you in the eye now, something he never used to do — but doesn’t really have very much to say. But give him credit: He was smart enough Monday to avoid falling into the tabloid trap a New York reporter was setting for him.

    “What would it say about this series if you guys are able to get a 2-0 lead Tuesday?” the Post guy asked Stephenson and several other Pacers players.

    Stephenson, a native New Yorker, smiled. He knew what the man wanted. A headline.

    Stevenson: “If we win Game 2, it’s over.”

    He addressed the question, but never gave in. Nor did any of his teammates. There would be no back-page tabloid fodder today. Not from the Pacers, anyway.

    This is not to suggest that Stephenson is a finished product, that all the rough edges have been smoothed over. The Pacers thought they saw a lot of progress last year until Stephenson foolishly flashed the choke sign at LeBron James, which is a red cape to a snorting bull. A few games later, Stephenson ended up on his backside, courtesy of Dexter Pittman.

    “We’ve taken off some of the rough edges,” Shaw said with a smile. “But not all of them.”

    The good thing about Stephenson is, he’s got a lot of dog in him.

    The bad thing about Stephenson is, he’s got a lot of dog in him.

    It’s just a matter of knowing how to use that edge, that manic energy, and use it to the team’s best advantage. He is absolutely fearless, a true product of the Brooklyn schoolyards. He also can’t quite leave the schoolyard style completely behind, occasionally lapsing and acting like he’s in the middle of an “And 1” tape.

    But give the kid credit: After all those years of dominating the basketball and being the primary scorer for his high school team and, to a lesser extent, the University of Cincinnati, Stephenson has learned to embrace being a fifth option.

    I was wrong about him.

    There. I said it.
    "Nobody wants to play against Tyler Hansbrough NO BODY!" ~ Frank Vogel

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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    Great article. I was wrong about Stephenson as well. His turnaround has been miraculous this season. He has just been amazing.

    And him emerging as a rebounding machine in the playoffs? That's just mindblowingly good.
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    Finally BK acknowledges what Sandman and I, along with many others knew from the beginning! Lance will be good one day!


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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!



    Other than the part about "If we win Game 2, it’s over.", it's pretty hard to argue with any of that.

    What a great asset Lance has turned out to be; thank goodness he's on our side!
    Last edited by RamBo_Lamar; 05-06-2013 at 06:18 PM.

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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    Quote Originally Posted by RamBo_Lamar View Post
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    Other than the part about "If we win Game 2, it’s over.”, it's pretty hard to argue with any of that.
    Except Lance DIDN'T fall into the trap.
    "Nobody wants to play against Tyler Hansbrough NO BODY!" ~ Frank Vogel

    "And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen. "
    Want your own "Just Say No to Kamen" from @mkroeger pic? http://twitpic.com/a3hmca

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    Wasting Light Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    I still don't trust him, but I always admired the talent. And at this point things are looking promising. Hopefully he continues to grow without Brian Shaw around.

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    Intuition over Integers McKeyFan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    Quote Originally Posted by Steagles View Post
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    Finally BK acknowledges what Sandman and I, along with many others knew from the beginning! Lance will be good one day!


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    I also believed in him from the beginning. I also believe he will ultimately be better than PG. Who's ready to join me?
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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    Quote Originally Posted by McKeyFan View Post
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    I also believed in him from the beginning. I also believe he will ultimately be better than PG. Who's ready to join me?
    I think Lance is a steady jump shot away from being All-Star caliber, but I am way too high on Paul George to say that.

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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    Quote Originally Posted by McKeyFan View Post
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    I also believed in him from the beginning. I also believe he will ultimately be better than PG. Who's ready to join me?
    Whoa their, partner!

    I didn't think Lance was really going to become much of anything, but I'm on board now.

    Thinking ahead, I can't wait to see this team with Granger back and another year of development for Lance and Paul George. They will be scary good. I mean, potentially dominant. Can't wait.
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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    Quote Originally Posted by PacersHomer View Post
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    I think Lance is a steady jump shot away from being All-Star caliber, but I am way too high on Paul George to say that.
    What I find interesting is that if Lance continues this level of play, he'll cement himself as starter-worthy from now on ... and perhaps deserving of a more lucrative contract than the $8/yr G Hill is making. Clearly some tough choices to be made this summer.
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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    Quote Originally Posted by DrFife View Post
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    What I find interesting is that if Lance continues this level of play, he'll cement himself as starter-worthy from now on ... and perhaps deserving of a more lucrative contract than the $8/yr G Hill is making. Clearly some tough choices to be made this summer.
    Luckily Granger's contract expires when Stephenson and George are up so that will give us a bit of flexibility. This is the peril of having great drafts. We have to re-sign them.

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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    I agree with you and have thought the same. Lance naturally wants to attack with the ball in iso. You can always tell that he is just dying to take it to the other team. Paul is still too timid at times on offense. The NBA's greatest players are those that are fearless with the ball. They want the shot. They want the ball in their hands. Lance is that guy. I love Paul, but I don't think he has the same amount of tenacity on offense. Both will be perennial All Stars if all goes well, but Lance's ceiling is still higher IMO.

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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    He is also getting a lot of recognition for his game. It's nice to see how far he has come

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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    His potential for greatness is at point guard, and i think he is ready for it now.

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    I think shooting guard is exactly where he needs to be. Best position for his size, skills, and defensive matchups, he still pairs well with George Hill, and that doesn't mean you still can't run some offense through him from that spot anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by McKeyFan View Post
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    I also believed in him from the beginning. I also believe he will ultimately be better than PG. Who's ready to join me?
    I've believed in him from the beginning too, I'm not sure he will be better than PG. But Lance has one thing that no other Pacer has right now ...he's fearless. He plays fierce.
    You can't get champagne from a garden hose.

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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    The gamble has definitely paid off. I'll admit I was wrong too. There was a time when I didn't think he was worth the headaches. However, the team stuck by him through some rough times, and now they're reaping the rewards.

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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    I think shooting guard is exactly where he needs to be. Best position for his size, skills, and defensive matchups, he still pairs well with George Hill, and that doesn't mean you still can't run some offense through him from that spot anyway.
    His size and strength is adequate for a shooting guard, but a great advantage for a point guard. He has the skills too, handles, athleticism, great vision and instincts. And he's not that good of a spot up shooter which you need from your sg.

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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    Quote Originally Posted by vincognito View Post
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    His size and strength is adequate for a shooting guard, but a great advantage for a point guard. He has the skills too, handles, athleticism, great vision and instincts. And he's not that good of a spot up shooter which you need from your sg.
    I think George Hill remains our boy for next four years, so the question becomes how do they best co-exist?

    I would argue that the best model is to let them both share on-ball guard duties, and play them both as combo guards. Why choose, when you can leverage both?

    Defensively, you have to put Lance on the bigger guard, especially as he matures his defensive game. I think Stephenson will soon be able to match up with Wade.

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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    Quote Originally Posted by DrFife View Post
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    What I find interesting is that if Lance continues this level of play, he'll cement himself as starter-worthy from now on ... and perhaps deserving of a more lucrative contract than the $8/yr G Hill is making. Clearly some tough choices to be made this summer.
    I think the Pacers would be very smart to try to negotiate a new contract with Lance THIS summer rather than wait the additional year. If they wait a year, then it's likely going to cost them much more. Doing so will provide them with an easier job of planning their course of action following the 2013-2014 season. Do they keep both Lance and Granger? Were they forced to pay so much for Lance (and/or West) that one of Lance or Granger must go? If so, which one?

    Whether they sign Lance early or not will not effect the evaluation of choosing a keeper between Lance and Granger, but it may result in enough dollars saved that it might be possible to keep both in the event the Pacers would want to. At the very least, it would put the Pacers in a more knowledgeable position about what they would need to do with their remaining roster positions in order to keep both Lance and Granger.

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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    I'm big on Lance, believed in him since day one as well. But the "next step" for him is becoming a good free throw shooter. Right now he's horrible for being a guard. If he becomes an 80% FT shooter he'll turn into a 15 ppg scorer. PG's ceiling is ever so slightly higher because I don't know if PG has a ceiling.

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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    Quote Originally Posted by docpaul View Post
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    I think George Hill remains our boy for next four years, so the question becomes how do they best co-exist?

    I would argue that the best model is to let them both share on-ball guard duties, and play them both as combo guards. Why choose, when you can leverage both?

    Defensively, you have to put Lance on the bigger guard, especially as he matures his defensive game. I think Stephenson will soon be able to match up with Wade.
    Yep. I had mentioned switching their roles, but playing them both as combo guards is probably better. At least, it's a better worded way of saying what I was trying to accomplish.

    When it comes to choosing between Lance and Danny after next season, I think it's becoming obvious. Lance is trending upward while Danny is trending downward. I still honestly feel that as long as we can pay Danny something, he will want to stay here, though.
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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    Kravitz is -- and always has been -- a manipulative, two-faced hack. Wells sucks, too (the reversal of Kravitz: Captain Obvious and Captain Hindsight in one). But, hey, it's the Indy Star.

    We as Pacer fans have been long to Lance's coming-out party.

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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    Quote Originally Posted by beast23 View Post
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    Whether they sign Lance early or not will not effect the evaluation of choosing a keeper between Lance and Granger, but it may result in enough dollars saved that it might be possible to keep both in the event the Pacers would want to. At the very least, it would put the Pacers in a more knowledgeable position about what they would need to do with their remaining roster positions in order to keep both Lance and Granger.
    If it comes between the two, I'm taking Lance. That's no disrespect to the captain, but he's on the decline whereas Lance is on the upswing. Hopefully, it wouldn't come to that and DG would take a discount.

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    Default Re: Pigs are flying!

    Quote Originally Posted by PR07 View Post
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    If it comes between the two, I'm taking Lance. That's no disrespect to the captain, but he's on the decline whereas Lance is on the upswing. Hopefully, it wouldn't come to that and DG would take a discount.
    Forced to choose, most would pick Lance, I imagine; yes. Implicit in Beast's post, though, is having an updated prognosis on Granger's health by July, when we'll need to decide what to do with Lance's current (and future) contract(s). I still like the idea of Danny having a future with reduced minutes, thereby making him ideally suited for a modest contract while still adding value, especially in the playoffs.

    If someone who knows the details of contract negotiating would like to weigh in on the idea of a new contract for Lance now instead of next year, please do!
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