The evolution of the now 8-0 Indiana Pacers extends beyond just the realm of Paul George. We already know Roy Hibbert is a beanstalk in the post waiting for another opportunity to hover over Miami's post pipsqueaks. However, the growth of Lance Stephenson has been a truly underrated aspect of their 2013-14 campaign.
Last night was another example as the Pacers fourth-year guard had his first career triple double in a victory over the Grit n' Grind Memphis Grizzlies. Stephenson is already recognized as one of the best board-crashing guards in the league, but this season he's also averaging career highs in assists (5.8, double last season's average), shooting percentage (48%), three-point shooting (51%) points (14.3, up from 8.8) and boards (5.9). Unfortunately, he's only hit 6 of 14 from the charity stripe this season. That percentage needs to drastically improve.
He also plays great defense. Stephenson meshes well with the starting unit. Once Danny Granger returns to the lineup in approximately two weeks (cross your fingers Pacer fans), he may have to come off the bench as the primary scoring option. In case you forgot, Stephenson is in the final year of a deal that earns him $1 million this season, which means he's aiming to make some serious guap next season as either a Pacer or elsewhere.Welcome to the Lance Stephenson, Contract Year World Tour.
Stephenson's knucklehead days appear to be behind him, but he did earn a ridiculous tech for this little ball fake against Tony Allen.