Although the Hornets were unable to bring Utah’s rising star, Gordon Hayward, to North Carolina, Charlotte was able to agree to terms with another young and talented player from another team. Lance Stephenson will suit up for the Hornets next season. Stephenson’s new contract will last for three seasons, during which he will be paid $27 million.
The 2012-2013 NBA season ended with the Indiana Pacers making their presence known by reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. That year also saw a rise in playing time and production from Stephenson. The 2013-2014 season saw even more progress from the shooting guard. He averaged 13.8 points, 4.6 assists and 7.2 rebounds per game. Further, Stephenson led the league with five Triple Doubles.
Charlotte, which finished seventh in the Eastern Conference last season, will greatly benefit from the addition of Stephenson. The attention will be taken from Al Jefferson on the inside now that another scoring threat is roaming the perimeter. Stephenson’s ability to score and distribute the ball makes him a concern for any defense.
Stephenson will be 26 years old once his contract expires with the Hornets. He has already proven to be a very talented player and it would not be a surprise if Stephenson becomes one of the top shooting guards in the NBA. That being said, Stephenson could earn an even bigger contract next time he is a free agent.
However, his antics both on and off the court may be a hurdle for the Brooklyn native. Antics aside, there is no denying Stephenson is a player the Indiana Pacers did not want to lose.
Stephenson has the right tools for a very successful NBA career. A few more years to improve both his play and maturity and Lance Stephenson could become the centerpiece of a franchise.