Lance Stephenson is entering his sixth season in the NBA and he will start the 2016-17 season with his fifth different team after signing a one-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Free agent Lance Stephenson has agreed to a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, league source tells The Vertical.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 9, 2016
He is still looking to regain the form he consistently displayed in the 2013-14 campaign with the Indiana Pacers, still his best season to date in the NBA. He played in 78 games that season and averaged 35.3 minutes per game, 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists and helped the Pacers reach the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight season.
His tough, gritty style and refusal to back down were a valuable asset to the team yet those things were overshadowed by the antics.
Remember when this used to give the Crying Jordan memes a run for their money on Twitter?
This is still Stephenson in a nutshell: tough, fearless mixed with a quirkiness that sometimes goes too far and cancels out the good qualities that he brings to a team. He is only 26 years of age, yet he only signed a one-year deal with a Pelicans team that needs all the help and quality pieces they can assemble to compliment Anthony Davis.
Pelicans are intrigued by Lance Stephenson’s talent. Am told he showed it in workout. Question is whether he can mesh with what’s here.
— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonWrites) September 9, 2016
Again, there aren’t any questions about Stephenson’s talent. The questions arise when it comes to the meshing and if the questions about the meshing exceed the obvious things teams already know about the talent that’s when the issues manifest themselves.
Lance Stephenson is the best basketball player the Pelicans acquired this off-season if we ignore the antics.
— David Fisher (@DavidFisherTBW) September 9, 2016
Right, and Shaquille O’Neal is just an average dude if we ignore the fact that he’s tall and rich. Stephenson and antics go hand in hand, ignoring that is impossible. It can’t be done right now, you simply can’t separate the two. This has been his track record for as long as he’s been a known name in the NBA.
Maybe this is the year that he puts it all together and finds that balance and becomes known as a really good player that plays head games and irritates opponents without it overshadowing his game or becoming detrimental to his own team.
Maybe this is the year that Lance Stephenson puts together another solid season like he did in 2013-14 (his last 26 games of 2015-16 with Memphis were on par with that) and earns himself a long-term deal with New Orleans or another team that could use his services. If you’re a Pelicans fan you have to hope that this will be the case. You also have to hope that rookie guard Buddy Hield gets off to a blazing hot start.
You know Anthony Davis is hoping for all of the above.