Source: Lance Stephenson Expected To Stick With Indiana Pacers

Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The Indiana Pacers have been stuck in the 13th spot in the Eastern Conference standings for a good chunk of the 2021-22 NBA season. Lately, there’s been more reason for optimism and excitement for the team’s fans in the form of a Lance Stephenson reunion on a 10-day hardship contract.

Stephenson made NBA history in his return to Gainbridge Fieldohuse—scoring 20 points in the first quarter coming off the bench against the Brooklyn Nets. No player had accomplished such a feat and it nearly overshadowed Kyrie Irving’s season debut.

Overall, Stephenson went on to finish with 30 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists against the Nets. He followed that outing up with a double-double (16 points, 14 assists) against the Utah Jazz while also setting a new career-high in assists in a single-game along the way.

“Lance has given us a different vibe as a team,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said, via the team’s official website. “The spark that he has provided, the personality. Of course, everybody that’s been here knows all about this…There’s a change in our team. A change in the disposition, the body language, the enthusiasm. It’s been great to see.”

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The level of play Stephenson has provided the Pacers is expected to solidify his future with the organization for at least the remainder of the 2021-22 season—as first reported by our own Evan Massey.

There has been a real connection with Stephenson and Domantas Sabonis developing on the court for the Pacers. Stephenson connected with Sabonis on nine of his 14 assists against the Jazz. Rudy Gobert being out was a huge help, but it’s clear there’s something there. Both Stephenson and Sabonis often shared the floor during the previous stint “Born Ready” had with the team when Sabonis was in the second unit.

“We took it back,” Stephenson said. “Me and Domas, we was in the second unit the (last)time I came back here. Me and him used to do the pick-and-roll, it used to be like ‘Showtime.’ I just felt like it was a flashback, like, ‘Oh, man, he’s gonna be there’ and I had to put my little twist to it.”

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It will be interesting to see how the Indiana Pacers end up distributing minutes and touches for their guards when Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert are back in the lineup. Lance Stephenson has come off the bench in a sixth-man role so far and that appears most likely to continue, but how will the plug-and-play lineup combinations and play style look?

About Grant Afseth 1055 Articles
Grant Afseth is a contributor to NBA Analysis Network who specializes in creating in-depth analysis. He also covers the Texas NBA teams for FanNation.