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IC Cold Links: Pacers Move Past Loss To Jazz; Stephenson's Future Could Use A Little D-League

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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.