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Thread: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

  1. #1
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    I know Lance Stephenson invades several threads here but what I'd like to know is why is Lance Stephenson so polarizing? There seems to be little in between when the subject comes up- People either love him or think he was everything that was wrong with the Pacers. Honestly, I don't remember this much polarization with Ron Artest. Yes, there were a few staunchly staking out claims on each side of the chasm, but nothing like what has happened with Lance (that I recall).

    It's hard to even have an honest discussion because people are hearing what they want to hear. If you are a Lance supporter then something said meant A and if you are a detractor the exact same comment meant B.

    The funny thing is, if anything, I think some of Lance's strongest support is with some of the more conservative members here. Meanwhile a fair amount of detractors seem to come from the camp who I'd expect to like a flashier player. Maybe I'm just reading that part wrong. Or maybe I'm not and that is part of the strangeness of the polarization.

    So just why and how did Lance become so polarizing?
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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    I don't find Lance that polarizing to be honest at least outside of here I guess.

    Ron Artest is another story.....

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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    If you don't remember this type of polarization about Artest then you need to conduct an inventory of your brain cells to see which one's you've killed off with alcohol in the last 10 years

    Seriously, as someone who was on the "I hate what Ron is doing but DAMN I LOVE HIS PLAY" side for a long (probably too long) time, I remember there being huge fights over just how RonRon was going to destroy us - to the point that we lost some long-time posters at around that time.

    Part of why Lance is polarizing is EXACTLY because of what happened with Ron. No Ron, no PASD (Post-Artest Stress Disorder) flashbacks.

    The second part of what is polarizing about Lance is that he is the epitome of a guy with the kind of flaws and skills that line up perfectly depending on what you as a fan think is important. If you want to see the game played one way, he's great. If you want to see it played another, he's ... not so much.

    The third part is quantifying that value. The hyperbole is that people wanted to give him either a minimum contract or a max contract. The reality was that the difference was between about 1.5xMLE and 2xMLE - a very narrow gap, but one exacerbated by where the Pacers' LT threshold fell.
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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    First - the title should be The Most Polarizing Former Pacer Of All - Lance Stephenson.

    Anyway - I think he draws people in because there is the distinct possibility that at any given moment, with or without provocation - he could go off that edge he plays on. Why do we watch boxing or MMA ?? Why do we watch various forms of racing ?? We want to see the knockout or the wreck. I wanted to be watching when he went off. And I think he's come close a few times. Not sure what held him back, but he's had some moments.

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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    Hibbert is more polarizing than Lance was.

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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    Quote Originally Posted by cdash View Post
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    Hibbert is more polarizing than Lance was.
    Bi-polar - I'll go with that.

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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    I was intrigued by two things, his potential and his never-back-down attitude. I know there was more to Lance than that, but that's just what stood out to me. Sometimes to win a championship you have to take a leap of faith, and I thought this was an instance that the Pacers needed to do whatever they could to keep him. With that being said, I don't think losing him sets us back any more than keeping him would have thrust us into championship favorites.

    Something else that I've thought about is the effect of losing PG for a year would have on Lance. How would Lance react after spending an entire season "being the man", and then have to learn how to play Robin again when PG came back. That is where I think his maturity level would be tested. That's not even a knock on Lance specifically either, I think many young NBA players would struggle with that.

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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    I don't consider Artest polarizing. Everyone knew he was bat **** crazy but somewhat overlooked it because of his talent. Then the brawl happened and everyone hated him regardless of his talent. I can't think of a single person who lamented his trade. Controversial? Yes. Polarizing? No.

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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    Just wait till Lance throws a behind the back pass, mean mugs or pushes George Hill, & then does the Lance dance at Bankers Life next year. The seperation will be complete at that point.
    Basketball wise he probably was the chemistry problem. He went from wiling to give Granger back his starting job to a guy that hung his head in the corner when he was taken out of a game. A guy that went nuts celebrating when PG threw down that wild jam on the Clippers to a guy that wouldn't even high five PG.
    Yet basketball wise his talent & mental toughness began to REALLY shine as the season progressed.

    The split here was simply people asking themselves are we better off with chemistry or better off with talent??

    Either way w/o PG his loss ended up being greatly devastating for next year.
    **** happens, though. The front office, fans, or Lance didn't know PG would be out so it's irrelevant now.

    It happened, he's gone, & he's going to **** you off next year if your a Pacer fan. Not much else to say about it now.
    Last edited by larry; 08-08-2014 at 07:58 PM.
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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5_7_Clash View Post
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    I don't consider Artest polarizing. Everyone knew he was bat **** crazy but somewhat overlooked it because of his talent. Then the brawl happened and everyone hated him regardless of his talent. I can't think of a single person who lamented his trade.
    That's not true at all. For starters, the organization itself stood behind Artest after the brawl and welcomed him back with open arms. There was that SI cover with Bird and Artest. Secondly, a ton of fans supported him after the brawl and wanted him back for the 05-06 season and beyond because of his talent. That was a hugely debated topic back on PD after the 04-05 season. There were certainly a lot of people who wanted Artest gone, but there was a near equal number of people who wanted to give him another chance because of the talent. I'd say it was pretty close to 50-50. All of the threads still exist on this site.

    It was the December 2005 trade demand that turned virtually everyone against Artest. He stabbed the Pacers organization in the back after they stuck their neck out to support him after such a nationally embarrassing incident. That was why everyone supported the trade. The Pacers had no choice but to banish him from the team after the trade demand.

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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    Well remembered, Sol. My brain cells are certainly not what they used to be (Thanks Obama!)

    You are absolutely correct. In my head, I was comparing the fans response to Artests trade and the response to Lances signing with Charlotte. In Artests case, not nearly as polarizing, as you inferred.

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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    Having said all that, do you consider Artest more polarizing than Lance?

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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sollozzo View Post
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    That's not true at all. For starters, the organization itself stood behind Artest after the brawl and welcomed him back with open arms. There was that SI cover with Bird and Artest. Secondly, a ton of fans supported him after the brawl and wanted him back for the 05-06 season and beyond because of his talent. That was a hugely debated topic back on PD after the 04-05 season. There were certainly a lot of people who wanted Artest gone, but there was a near equal number of people who wanted to give him another chance because of the talent. I'd say it was pretty close to 50-50. All of the threads still exist on this site.

    It was the December 2005 trade demand that turned virtually everyone against Artest. He stabbed the Pacers organization in the back after they stuck their neck out to support him after such a nationally embarrassing incident. That was why everyone supported the trade. The Pacers had no choice but to banish him from the team after the trade demand.
    That's a very good summary but I'll throw a bit of a wrench into it. The prior spring Artest did something absolutely idiotic in a playoff series vs Detroit. I don't even remember what it was - head butt? Elbow? I just remember that it was blatant, it was bad, and I seem to remember it cost you the game and had a big role in your losing the series (I seem to remember it being to Rip Hamilton but I could be wrong on that). I was ready for him to be gone then - it was a "He'll never be someone you can trust" moment for me. There were a few others who felt that way though you're right - some folks kept faith until the trade demand.

    EDIT: Now I'm questioning my own reality - or was that the year before? I felt sure for a minute and now I'm second guessing my memory enough that I guess I'll need to look for it.

    2nd EDIT: My re-memory was right, the first one wrong. He committed a flagrant vs Rip Hamilton in Game 6 of the ECF in 2004 which the Pistons won to take the series 4-2. All I remember is that once that happened in such a big moment I decided you couldn't trust him.
    Last edited by DisplacedKnick; 08-08-2014 at 08:38 PM.
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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5_7_Clash View Post
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    Having said all that, do you consider Artest more polarizing than Lance?
    I would say that Lance's game was more polarizing than Artest's. Few complained about Artest's game because it really didn't have many flaws when he was dialed in. This was a sharp contrast to Lance, whose style of play is criticized by many as being too selfish.

    What made Artest so polarizing was the non basketball stuff: flagrant fouls, destroying camera equipment at MSG, the brawl, etc. Lance has never done anything like that stuff. At most, people call him a locker room problem, but there is not a ton of concrete evidence.

    Overall, Artest was far more polarizing. There were a ton of people who wanted Artest gone no matter what. That didn't really happen with Lance. You had quite a few indifferent posters, but I don't recall too many people out there who said they wanted Lance off the team no matter what.
    Last edited by Sollozzo; 08-08-2014 at 08:35 PM.

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    The Last Great Pacer BlueNGold's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    Artest was polarizing but not so much in a basketball sense. Most liked his game. They didn't like his antics, which were many but didn't happen every day. In contrast, there has been a constant debate with Lance, his game, his interactions on the court, his impact to other players on the team, etc. Game in and game out. People just disagree.

    Also, I have been up and down on him. I was angry he was drafted because of what I believed were character issues. Then his talent and potential started to show and I became a believer. I actually still believe but understand my first impression was the correct judgment. We should not have drafted him.

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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    Lance? LOL. Not even close. Ron Artest by a mile

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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    I wrote this five months ago on another forum.

    Lance Stephenson has been a lightning rod for the Pacers since his arrival. He is now quite beloved by many, but there are also many who hate him. Why?

    The first bit of controversy was that a few people were saying as early as summer league that he was going to be phenomenal. The naysayers made it very clear that summer league was no place to judge talent. Besides he was the 40th pick with a history. They placed their interest in Paul George, who had the pedigree of First Round Draft pick, and played the game in a promising, albeit predictable way.

    We all know the next chapter. Incredible controversy over a story about his girlfriend. Those people very sensitive to domestic abuse way overreacted, but that was understandable. Thankfully, that blew over. I think Lance and the girlfriend got back together, and there has been nary an incident since.
    Some may think this is the reason many hate Lance, but I do not think so.

    The next real progression of this theme was probably the reports that Lance was trash talking Danny or some other leader in practice. They cried to Bird who told the big boys to get over it. Personally, I've always tended to side with Lance on this one, but, regardless, it was an incident rather unusual to be caused by a new arrival who got little playing time. This was not according to script. That becomes a real problem, as we will soon see.

    The next saga in this adventure is likely the Lebron choke sign. Get this: a two-bit nothing on the Pacers bench gets more time on ESPN than the rest of the Pacer players combined. Lance just stirs up some interesting $h*t, stuff that you were never expect. (Again, take note of this and put it in your pipe to smoke.)

    The next chapter, after Danny sitting out a year, is that Lance is a possible threat to the returning Granger's playing time, his starting position, his finishing games, etc. This caused endless threads and dissension and controversy. Many think that this is the main reason so many hate Lance. But I don't think so.

    The stats guys. We all love the stats guys. Have you noticed that the stats guys are, generally, the same guys who hate Lance? It's not a one-to-one exact thing, but there is a strong correlation (the stat dudes love that word).

    Paul George is a great player. He is a stallion. He is a good kid who says the right things and makes the solid play that you can predict (key word, "predict."). We are blessed to have PG, but Lance Stephenson is from an entirely different world. He is of that planet where things are not exact, where art trumps science, where the flash decision making of an intuitive basketball genius causes fans to erupt in ecstasy and sports center analysts to wonder why they are mesmorized by a second rounder.

    PG is predictable excellence. Lance is unpredicatable brilliance. Lance is far more like Larry Bird than PG, and this is why Bird loves him. Bird knows that at the highest levels, it's a game between the ears. Bird played that game like a master, and Lance knows the same tunes.

    Lance cannot be controlled. Ah, control. That is the key word my friends. Our stats brethren organize their entire lives around control. They see the world as a mathematical equation. It all fits together. As we study the equations, we can predict life. As we study the stats, we can predict what our predictable players will do for the Pacers.

    Lance tears all that to shreds. He showboats. He averages nearly a double double as a two guard. He shows up big time for the Knicks playoff finale and makes a four pointer while fading away in the deep corner. He takes calls regularly from Bird. He makes unprecedented Vote-for-Me All Star Game videos that are as over the top fantastic as they are hilarious. He causes Lebron and DWade to beg the refs at halftime to make Lance stop. He dumps water on Paul George's head while he tries to give an interview. He throws incredible passes that are often . . . . here it comes . . . unpredictable.

    Those of us who know that unpredictability is the very characteristic that can get you to a championship, well, we love Lance. I mean, who wants a facilitator who throws passes everyone else can predict? But it is this very quality of being unpredictable that drives the control crowd crazy. Lance scares them. He is not quantifiable. He is not under control.

    Lance is a risk. Yep. Guess who doesn't mind taking a risk? Larry Bird. Bird wasn't predictable either, and wasn't real good about always following the script. Just ask Bobby Knight. Risk is what catapults you to greatness. Lance plays with risk. Lance is a risk. And that's why the control crowd hates him.
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    The Last Great Pacer BlueNGold's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    There is some correlation between the stat guys and Lance skeptics. But I think the bigger part was the "Danny Granger Welcoming Committee" who wanted, and in fact expected, him to return to form.

    But they never could see that he was as done as a hamburger that's set on the grill all afternoon. As the season pushed forward, Lance excelled and forcefully yanked the starting position from Granger who was summarily booted off the team for a player who couldn't even get minutes over a journeyman. That was raw. The result was the same group of posters discounting Lance's talent and claiming his salary was fair market value for that talent...completely ignoring the fact Lance's baggage is what has weighed him down...just as in the draft.

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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueNGold View Post
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    There is some correlation between the stat guys and Lance skeptics. But I think the bigger part was the "Danny Granger Welcoming Committee" who wanted, and in fact expected, him to return to form.

    But they never could see that he was as done as a hamburger that's set on the grill all afternoon. As the season pushed forward, Lance excelled and forcefully yanked the starting position from Granger who was summarily booted off the team for a player who couldn't even get minutes over a journeyman. That was raw. The result was the same group of posters discounting Lance's talent and claiming his salary was fair market value for that talent...completely ignoring the fact Lance's baggage is what has weighed him down...just as in the draft.
    I never really thought that Granger crowd was quite so bad. I probably leaned more anti-Lance than pro-Lance, but that was because I think he is batshit crazy, plays selfish, and does not make intelligent basketball plays. He has jaw dropping talent and can do things on the court no one else on our team can do, but the cons slightly outweighed the pros, for me. Watching his career unfold will be interesting. The Horcats are definitely a League Pass team for me this year.

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    The Last Great Pacer BlueNGold's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    Quote Originally Posted by cdash View Post
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    I never really thought that Granger crowd was quite so bad. I probably leaned more anti-Lance than pro-Lance, but that was because I think he is batshit crazy, plays selfish, and does not make intelligent basketball plays. He has jaw dropping talent and can do things on the court no one else on our team can do, but the cons slightly outweighed the pros, for me. Watching his career unfold will be interesting. The Horcats are definitely a League Pass team for me this year.
    The part in bold is interesting. I think he became more selfish after the ASB. But he wasn't the only one. PG also played selfish big time but gets a pass. IOW, while Hibbert should not have said it, he was right. Also, at least Lance didn't play as bad as Hibbert and as uninspired as George Hill.

    As for not playing intelligent, I disagree. He's a little wild, but he also led the team in assists and his assist/turnover ratio was not bad. He also shot for the best percentage on the team. How is that not playing intelligent, when you are the best % scorer and the best passer? Look past the fact he's radical and admire the gift.

    As for him being batshit crazy, I agree. But I think he's not as bad as Artest who sports a NBA championship ring. This is the most important issue though. You can blame the selfish play on immaturity, but Lance might just have a Stephon Marburyish issue between the ears. So, considering everything I am OK with him moving on.
    Last edited by BlueNGold; 08-08-2014 at 11:08 PM.

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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5_7_Clash View Post
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    I don't consider Artest polarizing. Everyone knew he was bat **** crazy but somewhat overlooked it because of his talent. Then the brawl happened and everyone hated him regardless of his talent. I can't think of a single person who lamented his trade. Controversial? Yes. Polarizing? No.
    I didn't hate him for the brawl. I hated him for the trade request after all the support he was given by fans and Larry Bird here.
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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueNGold View Post
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    The part in bold is interesting. I think he became more selfish after the ASB. But he wasn't the only one. PG also played selfish big time but gets a pass. IOW, while Hibbert should not have said it, he was right. Also, at least Lance didn't play as bad as Hibbert and as uninspired as George Hill.

    As for not playing intelligent, I disagree. He's a little wild, but he also led the team in assists and his assist/turnover ratio was not bad. He also shot for the best percentage on the team. How is that not playing intelligent, when you are the best % scorer and the best passer? Look past the fact he's radical and admire the gift.

    As for him being batshit crazy, I agree. But I think he's not as bad as Artest who sports a NBA championship ring. This is the most important issue though. You can blame the selfish play on immaturity, but Lance might just have a Stephon Marburyish issue between the ears. So, considering everything I am OK with him moving on.
    I admire the gift. I said it in the post you quoted: The guy has unbelievable talent. But shooting a high percentage does not make one an intelligent player. Efficient, yes, intelligent, no. Even efficient can be debated, as PER and advanced metrics were not huge Lance fans.

    I don't really care to debate this all that much. Lance is gone, I wish him the best when he's not playing the Pacers.

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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    I think Lance is a good, not great player. I think his impact has been overrated by some who often become entranced with the magical "P" word, potential. In other words, "Player X" is young and on the rise, therefore he is superior to "Player Y" who is older and more of a known quantity. I think this tends to be a huge fallacy of sports fans who post on online forums.

    Does this make him polarizing? I'm not sure. I liked Lance on the Pacers, but this is not the same as thinking he is "irreplaceable" on the Pacers. However, it seems to me that if you imply that Lance is replaceable, you get painted as some sort of hater. I don't think thats quite fair.

    Are there really a lot of "Lance haters" out there? I don't really believe it. I agree with the poster that mentioned Hibbert, who is far more polarizing. Of course Hibbert has been around long enough to lose the "shine" of being new, and therefore invites a host of criticism. I'd say I've been following NBA basketball (specifically this forum) really closely since about 2007 (believe it or not, the murphleavy trade really sparked my interest in the team again, as depressing as that sounds) I remember when Roy was that young guy that everyone liked, the guy with potential. I watched Danny Granger go from being that guy to being irrationally hated by many posters.

    If Lance signed the offered contract and stayed, I would have given it very little time for him to suffer the same fate. The shine inevitably wears off, and then the flaws are all anybody can see. I tend to think the truth lies somewhere in the middle, personally. Sometimes hardcore fans can be the worst when it comes to actually having an objective viewpoint.
    Last edited by Infinite MAN_force; 08-09-2014 at 01:04 AM.
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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    I think some of you just have very selective reading glasses. There are plenty of people on here who are very much in the middle on Lance. The problem is that the people who love Lance or hate Lance classify everyone in the middle as being against their particular view of him as a player. The polarizing effect of Lance is created by a very vocal minority on both sides of the aisle. I think if you read through those posts, you'll find at least 50% of the people on the board are very moderate on Lance.

    I think Artest, Jackson, JO, and maybe even Tinsley were all much more black and white. Lance actually has quite a bit of grey on here, but it just so happens that the people standing on the black and white sides are extremely vocal any time his name comes up.
    Last edited by Trader Joe; 08-09-2014 at 02:43 AM.

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  43. #25
    Artificial Intelligence wintermute's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Most Polarizing Pacer Of All: Lance Stephenson?

    Quote Originally Posted by McKeyFan View Post
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    The stats guys. We all love the stats guys. Have you noticed that the stats guys are, generally, the same guys who hate Lance? It's not a one-to-one exact thing, but there is a strong correlation (the stat dudes love that word).
    Where the heck did this come from?

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