Stephenson had a fairly acrimonious end to his career in Indiana a few years. He went on to sign a deal with Charlotte as a free agent. He struggled away from Indiana and even found himself bouncing around the league this year.
We still don’t really know what happened to the Pacers during the 2013-14 season. Some people pointed the finger at Stephenson, some at the Hibbert for being ‘soft’ and Paul George even got some blame. Team president Larry Bird wouldn’t have brought Stephenson back if he was to blame or maybe the ‘troublemaker’ is no longer on the team.
The Pacers are struggling and have dropped from being the probable fifth seed in the East in the playoffs to being out of the field within a few weeks. Since the All-Star break, injuries to Thaddeus Young, Al Jefferson and Glenn Robinson III really damaged their playoff hopes. Indiana needed a spark on the court and for their fanbase, so signing Stephenson was a no-brainer.
Stephenson is known to be an odd fellow on the court and does a lot of things that make you wonder if he’s mentally competent. Well. he had one of those moments late in the game against Toronto.
The Pacers were up by double-digits with seconds left in the game. Stephenson ended up with the ball on a fast break with just a few seconds left. Instead of dribbling out the clock, he took advantage of the situation and hit a layup.
lance lays it up where he could’ve just dribbled it out. raptors took offense pic.twitter.com/9umCTKsWAw
— nbaayy (@nbaayy) April 5, 2017
As you can tell by the video above, the Raptors didn’t take too kindly to his layup.
Was it a bonehead move? Yeah, probably, but I will argue that the Pacers needed something like this to happen. It’s late in the season and they needed a spark. Stephenson will always keep the opposing team on edge. It’s one of the reasons Bird brought him back. I’m glad he is already paying dividends.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.