The respect didn’t come from coach Frank Vogel or from president Donnie Walsh. Lance Stephenson got his respect on the court during their scrimmage Friday night.
Stephenson had just worked Blake Ahearn over for a couple of baskets when Paul George, the Pacers’ best perimeter defender, started guarding Stephenson.
That wouldn’t have happened during Stephenson’s first two seasons.
New season, new (early) mind frame Stephenson.
Stephenson’s talent has never been questioned (just ask Larry Bird if you need more proof), it’s been his immaturity and not being able to knock the streetball out of his game.
If the first week of training camp is any indication, Stephenson is headed in the right direction.
He’s doing his best to let the game come to him instead of feeling like he has press the issue.
Stephenson’s best play during the scrimmage came on a drive to basket. With Roy Hibbert jumping straight up to contest the shot, Stephenson drew body contact with the big fella and was still able to put the ball in the basket.
“He did some good things,” Vogel said. “One or two forces, but for the most part pretty solid and attacking the basket.”
Stephenson has strength, he can handle the ball, he pass it and he has an improved jump shot. Now it’s a matter of him continuing to improve daily because he has a spot in the rotation.
Stephenson is George’s backup at shooting guard and currently the emergency third point guard on the roster.
“He’s more of a ballhandling (shooting guard),” Vogel said. “We’ll get him the ball through the post or in pick-and-rolls.”