Lance Stephenson is heading into the 2017-18 NBA season back with the Indiana Pacers and hoping to prove that he is capable of being one of the league’s best sixth men. After impressing late in the season with the Pacers, Stephenson is expected to be a major part of the Pacers’ rebuild and will be relied on heavily this season.
He may be preparing to play off the bench, but Stephenson will be playing starting minutes. Having a player capable of scoring and creating plays for the second unit like Stephenson is will be extremely valuable for the Pacers.
Last season in the six games he played with the Pacers, Stephenson averaged 7.2 points, 4.2 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game. He took his game to a new level in the playoffs, averaging 16.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game in their four-game series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, Stephenson will have the same role that he played in the playoffs last season. He will be coming off the bench and asked to bring energy and scoring to the court. Stephenson will also be the floor general for the second unit, even though Cory Joseph will be technically labeled as the point guard.
All of that being said, what goals should be set for Lance Stephenson heading into the 2017-18 season?
Average Between 14-16 Points
Having a legitimate scoring threat off the bench will be a major key for the Pacers. Stephenson is ready to slide into that role. Averaging between 14-16 points per game would be ideal for Stephenson and is without question an achievable goal.
Mature and Become a Leader
One of the things that head coach Nate McMillan has stressed for Stephenson is maturity and leadership. The days of blowing in LeBron James’ ear and other on-court antics are gone. It’s time for Lance to truly embrace a leadership role and be a leader on and off the court with his game and actions.
Get Back to Being a Triple-Double Threat
Just a few short years ago, Stephenson was a nightly triple-double threat for the Pacers. It won’t be as easy to do coming off the bench, but there will be opportunities for him to put up those numbers. Stephenson needs to get back to making an impact on all areas of the game and being a triple-double threat once again.
Become a Clutch Scorer
In addition to being a consistent scorer, the Pacers need Stephenson to step up in the clutch. Losing Paul George wasn’t easy, and it took away the player who normally took the last shot for them. Stephenson could very well find himself in that role quite often this season, and Indiana needs him to be their go-to guy late in the game when they need buckets.
What kind of season are you expecting from Lance Stephenson in 2017-18? Are there other goals that you would add to this list? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Aaron Gash/AP Images]