Lance Stephenson has proven he can be a very valuable player on a contending team. He wants to win, and will do just about anything to make it happen. He is still very young, and has a lot of room to grow and improve on his game. But Stephenson would not be a good fit next to Kobe Bryant on the Los Angeles Lakers.
Stephenson is an intense player who does a little of everything on the court to help his team win games. Bryant is also an extremely passionate player who has a competitive edge very few players are able to match. The problem is Bryant likely won’t be willing to put up with Stephenson’s on-court antics. Stephenson has frustrated his current teammates with the way he has carried himself on the court, whether it was stealing rebounds to pad his statistics, or playing outside the team concept. More recently, he tried to get in the head of LeBron James, which turned out poorly. His teammates voiced their disagreement and it was obvious on the court the chemistry wasn’t what it used to be.
Stephenson has a lot of maturing to do, and Bryant has very little patience left. Bryant wants the ball in his hands, and would be unlikely to let the offense run through the younger guard. Stephenson’s recent need to take over ball-handling duties would draw glares from Bryant. Bryant’s past history of clashing with players would go a step further with Stephenson, who might react poorly in response. This would take both players off their game, creating more problems for the team.
While Stephenson has a lot of talent and the Lakers need youth, he just would not be a good fit with the team and Bryant. He needs time to mature, and needs to be on a team where he has more room to show off his wide skill set. The Lakers should not sign Stephenson in the offseason, and instead should spend their money on players that can complement their star.