Lance Stephenson is set to face the Indiana Pacers for the first time since signing with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency. Originally the No. 40 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Stephenson spent a total of six seasons with the Pacers across two stints (2010-14, 2016-18).
After a career 2013-14 season where he averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists, Stephenson signed a three-year, $27 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets. Unfortunately, he could not duplicate that success and played for five different teams in a span of three seasons before returning to the Pacers.
As Stephenson would welcome a third stint with the Pacers at some point, he is excited about playing against his former team.
“Playing against my former teammates, it’s going to be amazing,” Stephenson said after Wednesday’s practice. “Just to see them and talk to them, talk to the training staff, talk to the coaches, it’s going to bring a lot of memories. It’s always good to see the team that you played on last year.”
With the 28-year-old having his best seasons with the Pacers, he revealed why he was able to succeed with them. “I would say just being put in a position where you could succeed. Just feeling comfortable and playing hard basketball,” Stephenson said.
“That unit we had last year, we were together. We wanted to win and we played together every game. We couldn’t win without playing together.”
As Stephenson is focused on his first season with the Lakers, he assessed his performance through 20 games. “It’s been pretty good,” Stephenson said.
“You always feel you could do better but for the most part I have a winning attitude. I’m trying to be the best player I can be and try to help this team win.”
Through all of the injuries and suspensions in the first 20 games, Stephenson has already embraced different roles from head coach Luke Walton.
While it has been an adjustment at times, the Lakers can consistently rely on Stephenson to bring energy off the bench.
With Lonzo Ball questionable with a sprained ankle, Stephenson is expected to see more minutes as the team’s primary ballhandler.