Lakers Nation Free Agent Of The Week: Lance Stephenson

Lakers Nation Free Agent Of The Week: Lance Stephenson


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With the Los Angeles Lakers entering the off-season with plenty of cap room, we’re examining potential free agents and their fit with the Lakers.

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This week, we begin our look at with Indiana Pacers shooting guard, Lance Stephenson.

Age: 23
Height: 6-5
Weight: 205
Position: SG
2013-14 Statistics: 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 0.7 steals.

Stephenson had a breakout year in 2013-14 and set career highs in points, rebounds, assists, and field goal percentage. His performance convinced voters to put him second behind Goran Dragic for Most Improved Player. During the season, he had four triple-doubles, tied with Bulls’ Joakim Noah for most, and showed he can impact a game in a variety of ways.

The Pacers relied on Stephenson heavily during the season. Stephenson was third on the team in scoring and second in minutes. Stephenson proved to be a valuable piece for a playoff team and has the potential to become an integral part on a championship contender.


One of Stephenson’s greatest strengths is his ability to handle the ball. He can create any shot he wants whether it be an open jumper or a drive to the rim.

An area Stephenson can still improve on is his ability to nail the three-point shot. He relies too much on his ability to create his own shot while only averaged a single three per game. He would rather try to get to rim or create some separation and pull up for a long two.

The biggest complication with Stephenson is that he is natural shooting guard. With Kobe Bryant expected to make his return, Stephenson would be coming off the bench or the Lakers would have to move Bryant over to the three position.

Stevenson definitely has all the tools to be an a key piece for the Lakers. However, his skill set requires him to have the ball often for him to be effective.


Stephenson is an excellent one-on-one defender. His length bothers opposing players and his quickness allows him to stay in front of his man. As a result, he is able to force tough, contested shots.

However, Stephenson struggles just his off-ball defense. He doesn’t respond well to screens and often finds himself out of position. This can be fixed with a better scheme in place as well as an improved communication and chemistry with his teammates on the defensive end.

With the Lakers, the addition of Stephenson could allow Bryant to matchup with the opposing team’s secondary wing option. Stephen has the ability to stay with the primary scoring threat. During the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals, he did an outstanding job on LeBron James.

Contract Outlook

2013-14 Salary: $930,000

Stephenson definitely outplayed his contract and is expected to earn a multi-year contract worth at least $6-8 million per year.

The Pacers are is a dilemma themselves as they have committed their money towards Paul George, Roy Hibbert, and David West. They enter the off-season with a salary over $65 million and will likely try to find a cheaper option despite owning Stephenson’s Bird Rights.

Landing With Lakers Odds: 25 to 1

While Stephenson is talented, the Lakers simply do not need an immediate need for him. Adding him to the roster would cause roster complications between him and Bryant. The Lakers would be better served by targeting a player that doesn’t require the ball as much as Stephenson does.

Despite his talents, Stephenson had a player efficiency Rating of 14.97, just slightly below the league average of 15.00. Stephenson’s upside is huge given his ability to produce triple-doubles on any given night. However, if the Lakers want to keep their financial flexibility for 2015 and potentially 2016, they should look elsewhere.
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  • Lakers Rebuilding

    Stephenson is kind of like a mini LeBron he can pass the ball rebound and is a pretty solid defensive type player but he still needs to work on a few things this offseason but other than that he is a very good player. If the Lakers can get him between 6-8million that would be great and theres definitely a shot he’d be on the roster next season. But the main issue would be both having Kobe and him for the same position (unless kobe moves to the 3) and if kobe does end up moving to 3 it would be better for him because he wouldn’t have to defend the younger quicker guards that are in the league. Course there is still KD and LeBron but Kobe can guard them I think but not entirely sure. Either way Lance is a really solid player who can be a future all star depending on what team he’s on and what role he’s playing but I honestly hope the Lakers don’t overpay for him.

    • Suspected Spam

      I stopped reading after ‘mini Lebron’

      • comrade24

        If anyone in the league is “mini lebron” it’s Andre Iguodala. he even kind of looks like him.

        • Zimmeredge

          iggy, bledsoe and Stephenson are statistically (no per or percent involve, i mean raw stats) mini lebronesque… but in their game it’s a different story. iggy is more defensive minded and oriented. bledsoe and stephenson are both great defenders (not as great as iggy tho) but their aggressivness on offense and the multiple thing they can do on this side of the court worth the mini lebron call imo.
          remember that both are really really young so they’ll keep growing n growing for the next 2-3 seasons. Iggy won’t progress anymore.
          stephenson is one of my favorite player at the moment and we should really go after this guy. he could be a great guy in the future and right now.

        • FIRE DANTONI ASAP!!!

          You are a racist!

          • comrade24

            you’re name is out of date. and you’re a moron. D’Antoni was fired ASAP, and nothing i said was racist. In fact, the fact that you think it’s racist is actually a little racist. If i said that two white people looked alike you wouldn’t think it was racist. You’re just pinning on me the assumption of an unfounded stereotype. idiot.

    • $20509373

      Every starting small forward in the league would be salivating if Kobe moved to the 3. With that said, Lance won’t leave to Indiana to ride the bench on another team. He’s not polished enough to play the point and too small to play the 3.

    • the guy with the cat

      I stopped reading after ‘Kobe can guard them’.

      • Chris Park

        Actually Kobe can guard them. Sure it won’t be the entire duration of the game but if need be on the last 2~3 minutes of the game Kobe can play some great defense. (Assuming he was the player he was before the achilles)

        • Zimmeredge

          so… he can’t guard them. Kobe is not a role player. do you know that Durant is a 6’10 player and Lebron 6’8. and they are both heavier than kobe. maybe he is quicker than kd but lebron is in his prime and he is one of the fastest dude in the league right. no way kobe can guard those guys.
          Stephenson can guard Lebron sometimes as he is bigger, younger and faster than kobe now and in the future. he can also guard Melo or Gay quite easily.

          Kobe’s future lies on loosing fat and weight and get slimmer not bigger… he can’t carry his 205-210lbs anymore. he would be way to heavy for what his body can carry imo. he has to be 195-200 lbs.

          • Chris Park

            Did you disregard what I said in the beginning? I’m talking about the 2~3 minutes lock down defense Kobe tenacity will be able to guard them but obviously not during the entire game.

          • Zimmeredge

            yes because defending 2 or 3 minutes makes kobe a role player. he can guard them anyway. durant is too tall and lenghty and lebron is too big and heavy. kobe is 36 and not getting any younger, faster or bigger. he needs to slim down and get back to a more athletic body. as i told you, his body can’t carry him as well as in the past. all in all you understand that it’s really complicated.
            he could eventually guard them on buzzer beater in bound situation when we need a good close down defender but we should get after a great, younger perimeter defender via fa or draft this summer so that’s not even a certainty imo.

          • kobe24

            Guess we were on the wrong page i meant him guarding lebron during certain situations.

            I think he can move to SF for offense but then during defense hes goonna have to switch off since he cant guard durant nor lebron the entire game

      • Kïd Špłãšh

        Kobe Can Guard Your Mom

  • They call me Pringles

    Lance can play SG and SF. If we can somehow get Lance AND Nick Young to sign at least 7M per year – per player, we would be set for those positions while saving cap space for the next year (K. Love). We can afford re-sign Bazemore as a third string backup SG for cheap. But I hope they call Rudy Gay first and see how much we can sign him that is, if he opts out of his $19M salary.

    • Matt Williams

      I heard Rudy is willing to take a pay cut.

      • They call me Pringles

        Yeah, I hope we can get him or the two guys (Lance & Nick) for cheap. That would be a positive domino effect. We’d be set for the SG & SF position and we have a great position in the draft. If some other team picks Exum before us, we can be in a good position to draft a PG like Smart that is, if we have no chance on Lowry for cheap. Mitch must feel like a kid in a toys-r-us store. So many opportunities hasn’t happened for us in a long time..

  • kookiebuger

    I prefer the Lakers sign him over Nick Young.



    • Javon Newton

      How can you say kobe cant gaurd lebron after that allstar game

      • Javon Newton

        Rudy gay over lance any day


    I would love to see the Lakers back to triangle offense. What do you guys think?

    • Lakers4Life

      Oh hell yeah, but probably won’t happen. Who’s available out there who can teach the system?


        Kobe, Gasol, Farmar they know the system. Thats about it.

  • KingEmperor

    Gordon Hayward can play 3..

  • Daniel

    if there s any objectivity in the new coach, Kobe should play no more than 20 minutes a game, that makes him a back up. t is a great Luxury to have a $23 million a year back up, but Lakers gave him the money as a thank you for the past years.
    Kobe is finished as we know him, there is no way that he can come back and play more than 30 minutes, at his age, after the injuries he had this last two years, after having played in the NBA for 20 years. So, unless his ego gets in the way, which I am sure it will, Lakers need to address his position, and by the way, paying a 3, well, he would be embarrassed by most real 3.

  • Kïd Špłãšh

    I would Sign Rudy(3yr21mil) Isaiah Thomas(1yr 1.5mil)),Lance(3yr9mil), Gortat(2yr6mil) Resign Nick(3yr12), Hill(2yr 5mil)), Gasol(2yr10mil), Bazemore(2yr2milTO))Henry(2yr3mil), Farmar(2yr4milTO)McRoberts(1yrml) Draft Smart . Rob, Kobe, Nash(Signed Already) LineUp:Smart, Kobe, Rudy, Gortat, Gasol Bench:Nick, Thomas, Lance, Hill, Henry, Bazemore, Farmar, Rob,Josh COACH:Byronnnnnn Ass.Derek

  • KingEmperor

    I think stephenson will not play in the lakers if only playing as a reserve shooting guard behind kobe..he is a starter in pacers he establish his possession their he will not change team to become a bench player again..

  • carew10

    exum(or smart)-kobe-ariza-anthony-hill

    HC: thibodeau or hollins

    we need of this for try to win right away!

    if we want wait the 2015 for take kevin love:

    exum(or smart)-kobe-ariza-hill-gasol
    HC: thibodeau or hollins

    • Javon Newton

      Marshall ,kobe ,gay ,melo,gasol

      Farmar swaggy p,bazemore, hill ,henry this should be the plan and if gasol not down trade him and are first round to the timberwolfs for love.

      • Javon Newton

        Nash, sacra…

        • Javon Newton

          Thats a quick fix western confrence finals in one year

      • KingEmperor


      • roseducanna

        Change GUY for STEPHENSON .

  • LakersHeatBeef

    I love Lance Stephenson he is the best guy out there other than LeBron and Carmelo IMO.The Lakers must sign this budding superstar.DO IT MITCH!

  • LakersHeatBeef

    My hope and prayer is the Lakers sign Lance Stephenson.He has improved drastically each year.He keeps getting better and better the sky is the limit.

  • Pull It Off

    The Lakers gotta stop small timing and go for the big time in trades and free agency.People say oh the Lakers fan base is totally delusional and all that stuff.Well ever fan base and local newspaper everywhere dreams big and is delusional to some degree as i was reading the hoops hype and teams think they can get LeBron and Kevin Love also some teams think they can get Carmelo Anthony or Pau Gasol and Lance Stephenson.At least the Lakers have a proven track record of getting great players and coaches to win championships.So my thought process is lets dream bigger than anyone and make this happen lets trade our lottery pick and Steve Nash to Minnesota for Kevin Love and then right away sign LeBron James to a $17 million dollars deal per and backload it so he gets paid big at the end of the 5 year deal.Love makes $15.5 million and LeBron would be at $17 million dollars and Kobe Bryant at $24 million dollars that’s $56.5 million dollars leaving $7 million dollars to scoop up Lance Stephenson and then the team would have a full mid level exception of over $5 million dollars to sign a decent Point Guard like Darren Collinson and then find veterans chasing a ring to sign for the veteran minimum at least this is doable if we can pull off the trade for Love and sign LeBron James.It’s the Lakers way.

    This team would be hot as a championship lock

    PG Collinson+Lance Stephenson+Kendall Marshall
    SG Kobe+Lance Stephenson+Xavier Henry
    SF LeBron+Lance Stephenson+Terrence Williams
    PF Kevin Love+Ryan Kelly+Emeka Okafor
    C Birdman+Matt Bonner+Robert Sacre

  • Pull It Off

    Lets get some real players on the Lakers.

  • P.R. Oil

    I do not get the point of writing about a player the Lakers could use and then say it is better to target someone else.

    All in all, if they can get a player of this caliber they should jump all over it.

  • roseducanna

    Accept to KOBE, if he want the # 6 ring , he must re-sign contract 3yrs for 48mils.

  • comrade24

    of those i would definitely choose Deng, although Lowry has been impressive in the playoffs. I’m hoping for Exum in the draft, if that doesn’t work out hopefully can grab Kyrie in the offseason. Definitely need a solid or elite pg to rebuild


    Thats pretty good