Is Lance Stephenson Most Improved Player Favorite Early On?

By Dylan Hughes
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Lance Stephenson earned the nickname “born ready” in high school, where he scored the most points in New York state history for high school basketball. He may have been an excellent player in school, but he was certainly not ready for the professional level when he first stepped foot into it. A few years later, Stephenson is more than ready to be not only an NBA player, but an NBA star.

Indiana Pacers‘ president Larry Bird always saw something in Stephenson, and many doubted he would ever work out in the big leagues, but now we are seeing what Bird saw all along. Bird’s scouting ability is one reason the Pacers are where they are right now, and Stephenson is certainly a big part of it.

Stephenson didn’t do much his first two seasons, only playing a combined 54 games, with his highest averages coming in his first season with 3.1 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in 12 games. Last season, Stephenson broke into the league with Danny Granger out playing 78 games and averaging 8.8 points per contest. He certainly had improved as a player and a man since entering the league, and has really shown his growth on and off the court so far this season.

In Indiana’s eight games, Stephenson is averaging an impressive 14.3 points, 5.8 assists and 5.9 rebounds a game while shooting 48 percent from the field, and 51 percent from behind the arc. Stephenson also has a triple-double under his belt, which came in their last game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Stephenson is not only improved, but is a big part of the Pacers, who are currently undefeated.

The season is still young, but Lance Stephenson is playing impressively every night and is capable of putting up good numbers consistently with all he can do on the floor. Opponents fear Stephenson, and as long as he keeps the fear alive, he could win this year’s Most Improved Player Award.

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