A major question the Indiana Pacers will have to answer during the offseason is if they’re set at the guard spot with Lance Stephenson.
It’s possible the Pacers will look to make a deal to strengthen that spot, unless Stephenson gives indication he’s ready to turn his game up a few notches.
Stephenson did improve greatly this season for the Pacers and actually didn’t perform badly in the playoffs, but it’s rather apparent that the team is looking for him to do better in 2013-14 if the Pacers are to pass the Miami Heat in the NBA East regular season battle and get that top seed.
The focus on Stephenson during the offseason for the Pacers will be twofold: his free-throw shooting needs to improve and so does his consistency in his overall play.
During the regular season, the Pacer guard shot 62.2 percent in free throws which is higher than his career mark of 64.4 percent. Stephenson was 62.2 percent during the playoffs but only 50 percent in the first round.
Stephenson averaged 29.2 minutes, 38.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.0 steals during the regular season. Those numbers are up from his two-year career mark of 21.5 minutes, 6.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
His career shooting average is 44 percent from the floor and 46 percent at the line.
Stephenson played well in the conference semifinals with 11.7 points per game. He was 8.9 points per game against Miami but combined for only 18 points the final three games of the series.
Stephenson’s consistency needs to improve to help the Pacers compete for the title next season.