Lance Stephenson pushing to expand role with Danny Granger sidelined for Pacers

Third-year guard playing heavy minutes off the bench for Pacers and earning the trust of Frank Vogel.

Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel has spent the first three games of the regular season tinkering with the playing rotation an five-man combinations while trying to fill the gap left by Danny Granger's injured knee.

Granger's return remains uncertain, but with the team on the road and the training staff still at least a day away from gathering all the info on the knee's status and deciding the next course of action, it doesn't seem like Granger will be back in the near term.

Gerald Green has started in Granger's place for the Pacers and struggled in the first two games before getting a couple of easy early buckets and appearing more comfortable on the court en route to 17 points against the Kings.

But in the past two games, Lance Stephenson has come off the bench and given the Pacers a big boost which earned him crunch-time minutes with the rest of the starting unit.

Could Stephenson end up starting for the Pacers until Granger returns? They could easily move Paul George to small forward to pair with Stephenson on the wing. That also allows Green to play with the second unit as intended. At times the reserves are desperate for offense and Green could give that boost playing as one of the primary offensive options with the bench instead of the third or fourth option with the starters.

Frank Vogel doesn't plan to change his lineup at this point, but does like what Stephenson is now bringing to the team as quoted on Pacers.com.

"He plays with great energy," Vogel said. "He's a presence out there on both ends. He's not always in the right spot on the defensive end, but he really competes on the ball, really competes on his man. That changes things defensively for us in a positive way."

Stephenson has flat out gotten it done in the past two games for the Pacers but that grand total of two games is not enough to support any drastic moves. Vogel intends to play his gut down the stretch and utilize the player he feels is having a better game regardless of whether it is Green finishing with the starters or Stephenson off the bench.

Consistency should remain Stephenson's goal as he needs to become a reliable contributor in the playing rotation. If the team can begin to rely on Stephenson playing like he has the past two games, his playing time and role on the roster will take care of itself.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Indy Cornrows

You must be a member of Indy Cornrows to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Indy Cornrows. You should read them.

Join Indy Cornrows

You must be a member of Indy Cornrows to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Indy Cornrows. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker