Well, it appears the sun came up this morning as expected even after the Utah Jazz thumped the Indiana Pacers into submission last night. Tomorrow night the Suns come up for the Pacers in Phoenix, so we can put that stinker last night behind us.
In the spirit of moving on, I was almost excited when I read Mike Wells' lede about Lance Stephenson possibly playing in the D-League for Fort Wayne. Then I kept reading. The Pacers haven't utilized the D-League in this way before but if they don't use the option for Stephenson then they never will.
The team's philosophy has been that practicing with the NBA players is more valuable for developing young players than having them play games against lesser talent. After reading all of the qualifiers in Larry Bird's statement on the possibility of sending Stephenson down, I'm not holding my breathe that it will ever happen this year.
That's unfortunate because it would certainly be a great test for Stephenson. The Pacers might not gain anything from Stephenson's performance on the court for the Mad Ants, but the experience would be a great to measure how Stephenson handles his business on and off the court while out from under the tight scrutiny of the Pacers coaching staff and front office.
That may be a risk the team wants to avoid but if Stephenson can't handle a two-week stint in the D-League how will he handle more responsibility at the NBA level? The legal issues hanging around Stephenson until his court date on February 25th are also a factor, so I realize the Pacers wouldn't consider a doing this until that matter is resolved. But if Stephenson emerges from court cleared to play, starting to build that public trust from the ground up in the D-League would be a smart move.
After the jump, a few links from around the NBA with stories from last night's loss along with more national exposure for the Pacers.
- Box score
PACERS: GAME REWIND: JAZZ 110, PACERS 88
Game Rewind has highlights, analysis, notes, quotes and stats from the Pacers' 110-88 loss at Utah Wednesday night.
Pacers can't stop Jazz's win streak
Mike Wells reports on the Pacers coming up empty against the Jazz.
- AP: Williams has 24 points, 16 assists as Jazz roll
Jazz run away from Indiana for seventh straight win | The Salt Lake Tribune
Steve Luhm reports on the Jazz continuing their solid play last night.
Court time for Stephenson?
Mike Wells notes a trip to the D-League is unlikely for Lance Stephenson and catches up with former Pacers Earl Watson.
Would you be happy if O’Brien returned next season? | Pacers Insider
Mike Wells wonders how fans would feel if JOB returned next season.
Pacers' Danny Granger is determined to lead team to playoffs - Lee Jenkins - SI.com
Lee Jenkins reports on Granger's quest to make the playoffs including this interesting nugget: "Danny Granger scored 5,919 points in the past four years, more than Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Brandon Roy and Paul Pierce."
Roy Hibbert Fights to Improve His Game -- NBA FanHouse
Sam Amick caught up with Roy Hibbert in Sacramento to report on his improved play.
- Roy Hibbert finds his training groove in mixed martial arts - Ball Don't Lie
Westbrook does it over and over and over
Russell Westrbrook continues to torch the league like he did the Pacers. Wow!