Despite dealing with lingering injuries at the end of last season, Lance Stephenson’s impact on the Pacers was memorable. This offseason, Stephenson is aiming to be that player and more, training to be at peak performance when the season starts.
“I feel like this is the hardest I’ve been working since I’ve been in the league,” said Stephenson on Monday. “I feel like this is a big opportunity for us as a team and we gotta take full advantage of it.”
While many NBA players around the league have returned to their hometowns, Stephenson has remained a regular fixture at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, sharing snippits of his intense workouts on his Instagram page.
A post shared by Lance Stephenson (@stephensonlance) on Jul 14, 2017 at 10:00am PDT
His desire to enter the season in peak form is understandable, considering what he was able to accomplish at the tail end of last season while hobbled by groin and ankle injuries.
In the six regular season games Stephenson appeared in, the 26-year-old averaged 7.2 points, 4.2 assists, and four rebounds per game, all while canning 63 percent of shots from behind the arc.
When the dust settled from the Paul George trade that sent George to OKC and brought Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to Indiana, Stephenson began to see it as a chance for himself and his teammates to fill the vacuum on both sides of the ball.
“I feel like the opportunity that everyone has right now is big,” he explained. “But we’re going to have to work hard and find the go-to guy, and find the leader of the team and (we) just gotta win,” he said.
Stephenson played the role of leader on Monday, volunteering at the Jr. Pacers Hoops Tour. He joked that he was planning to show the campers, “A little Lance-make-em-dance type of move.”
With his focus still locked in on training camp, Stephenson was asked what type of role he thinks he’ll take on with the new cast of teammates at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“I’m trying to do it all man. Whatever it takes to win, I’m going to do my best to do it.”