“Born Ready,” better known as Lance Stephenson, isn’t having quite the follow-up season most expected. Given his phenomenal stint with the Indiana Pacers for the last four seasons, many thought stardom would be in his near future.
However, after signing a 3-year contract with the Charlotte Hornets worth $27 million, his performance has been rather mediocre.
Although the all around play was an obvious attraction for the Hornets, the team expected him to be a vital and upgraded piece to the stagnant offense, more specifically in scoring. In 19 games, Stephenson has struggled, averaging just 10.1 points per game. While he is booming in other statistical categories with 7.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists, the Hornets desperately need a reliable third scoring option.
Stephenson has the skillset to make him a solid second scoring option behind Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker being the third, but for whatever reason, he’s be unable to produce on the scoring end.
Many sources believe the premature conversations of him being a star has hurt his play as a Hornet. Even coach Steve Clifford has been critical of his performance and believes it’s because he’s caught up in the hype.
In a recent interview, Clifford stated, “To be fair, one of the things that’s made it more difficult for him is that he came here and people proclaimed him as the next superstar. He’s not a star. He’s a guy that has talent to become a star. To be a star in this league, you have to do it over years.”
Coach Clifford couldn’t have said it better. In retrospect, all the players that have been proclaimed stars had to develop into such a role, which took both years and consistency. Even though Stephenson had consistent seasons with the Pacers, being a key piece to their success, he hasn’t even made an All-Star appearance, which in most cases, is the initial step to becoming a star. If stardom is what he desires, Stephenson will have to start by proving his worth and helping the Hornets win games.
The Hornets’ awful start and Stephenson’s inability to find his role on the team has led to him being aggressively shopped around the league. Although the season is barely underway, Stephenson may find himself in a different jersey before the trade deadline… if things don’t change. Hopefully, trade rumors light a fire under his seat and provide motivation for him to elevate his play.
Thus far, the Charlotte Hornets are off to a 4-15 start, and do not possess the identity of a playoff team. Then again, it is the Eastern Conference, so if they change things now, there could be a possibility. Maybe Stephenson’s 18 points in the Hornets’ loss to the Chicago Bulls Wednesday (Dec. 3) is the start of something special for him. If only his performance was as good as his Bobby Schmurda x “Hot N*gga Remix”, then the Hornets would be one of the top 5 teams, instead of bottom 3 teams.
We’re rooting for you Lance!