All of the talk regarding the Indiana Pacers so far in the 2013-14 NBA season as they’ve started the year unbeaten with a perfect 8-0 record has revolved around Paul George and Roy Hibbert. George seems to have taken that next step in his development and looks every bit like a superstar while Hibbert is already making a strong case for himself as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
Until Monday night, though, not many people were talking about George’s companion on the wing, fourth-year guard Lance Stephenson. After Stephenson posted his first career triple-double on Monday en route to a 95-79 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, though, many people are certainly talked about him.
Stephenson’s triple-double wasn’t huge in any area, but that doesn’t make his 13 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds any less impressive. Stephenson also committed only one turnover on the evening and shot a solid 5-11 from the field and 3-5 from long-range to get his triple-double.
Though all of the talk about George and Hibbert is deserved, more people should be talking about Stephenson because a game like this has been a long-time coming. Towards the end of last season and so far this season, Stephenson has continued to grow as a player and has shown the ability to contribute in a number of areas on the court. Having a triple-double really was only a matter of time if you think about it.
For the year, Stephenson is on his way to having the best season of his young career. Before Monday, he was averaging 14.4 points, 4.9 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting 48.2 percent from the field and 50 percent from three. If he were to finish with those type of numbers, they would all be career-highs for him.
You can continue to talk about George being a superstar and he’s making a pretty compelling case for your argument early on. However, this Pacers team isn’t as good as they have been early on if Stephenson isn’t out there making plays all over the court. He’s part of what makes this team tick and it’s good to see him get recognition for that, even if it took a triple-double for it to happen.