It is true that Lance Stephenson can be a distraction to the team. That is why the Indiana Pacers were not willing to re-sign him. They did not want to give him the money he was asking for only to have him run his mouth at the wrong time in the playoffs. The Charlotte Hornets are a different story. Signing Stephenson to a three-year, $27 million deal is simply another step in the right direction for the franchise.
For all the drama that Stephenson caused in the media during the postseason, he was definitely doing a majority of his talking on the court with his play. His 13.6 points per game, 45.5 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from beyond the arc helped the Pacers get back on track and reach the Eastern Conference Finals. Other players on the team were more productive, but there is no denying that Stephenson’s presence was a difference maker.
At this point, the big concern for the Hornets has to be if 2013-14 was a fluke. Stephenson posted career highs across the board, which is typically a good sign. On the other hand, it could be a one-hit wonder. That would be devastating for a Charlotte team that is trying to make some noise in the playoffs, not take a step in the opposite direction.
The good news is the 23-year-old’s career looks to be on the up. Not to mention, a change of scenery should do Stephenson plenty of good as he is able to get out of the volatile situation he was in with the Pacers. As for Charlotte, all of their doubts were answered after a face-to-face meeting with Stephenson in Las Vegas Tuesday night. Clearly, the suits saw something they liked while talking with him.
Stephenson will be a fine addition to a team that already has center Al Jefferson and upcoming point guard Kemba Walker.