The Pacers announced today that they picked up a team option on Stephen Graham's contract for next year. Considering my minor obsession with Stephen Graham, this is exciting news.
No, it's not a franchise altering move. In fact, at this point Graham simply solidifies the 12th man on the roster.
So why am I so excited?
Well, for starters, Stephen Graham is a salt of the earth-type guy who just works hard and appreciates his opportunity at the NBA level. The fact that it is May and Graham knows he'll be in the L next year is a payoff for his hard work and well deserved. Larry Bird said much the same.
“Stephen is an exceptional individual on and off the court,” said Pacers President of Basketball Larry Bird. “He has a great work ethic and over the course of last season, we saw major improvement from last summer. If he continues to improve like that, he’ll play a major role for this team. He is exactly the type of player we want on our team.”
Nice guy, hard worker aside, I'm excited because Stephen may actually have a chance to earn more playing time. He's been caught in a numbers game at the 2/3 spots, but this move may be an indication that Kareem Rush and/or Flip Murray won't return.
If that's the case, Stevie has to step up from being a hopeful good story to a break-out productive story. That's another reason I'm excited about the potential for Graham to play because the Pacers are overdue to have player come out of nowhere and work his way into productive minutes at the NBA level. It happens to other team, why not the Pacers?