With the Kevin Pritchard news breaking last Friday, I was looking forward to hearing Mike Wells discuss the news with Michael Grady on the Grady and Big Joe Show.
Since the news was so fresh, Wells didn't have much more insight on the hire than he had already shared but he did have some interesting things to say as the discussion continued to other offseason topics. In fact, I was taken aback to hear Wells speak so positively about Lance Stephenson and the changes he's noticed in the young Pacers guard this summer.
I'm gonna say this, and Grady you know, you've seen people get mad at me for criticizing Lance Stephenson. I have heard nothing but good things about Lance so far. I talked to him at the Pro Am. We went the whole season where he would not acknowledge and speak to me first, not that he has to do that. He came up to me, shook my hand asked if I had any questions and before the lockout talking to people with the Pacers, they said he was committed to coming in throughout the whole thing and working out and stuff and now you gotta hope that now that there's nobody watching over Lance that he can continue this trend because he has the potential to be good.
Even his father spoke to me during the draft party. I don't think he even said two words the whole season. I think the maturity is starting to slowly trickle down to Lance. Now, just hope that it carries over to after this lockout happens because if it doesn't happen it's a bad indication on Larry because he has stuck up for Lance and he has been adamant that he wants Lance on his team, so he has to hope that Lance is mature enough to handle this throughout the whole process and is responsible in working out.
As he mentioned, Wells is nowhere near a Stephenson apologist which is why this was news to me. MG went on to verify Stephenson's reluctance to say anything during the season, especially without Clark Kellogg monitoring his actions.
Of course, being a professional working on your game and learning to handle your business with the media remains a Chris Rock, what do you want, a cookie?! situation. It has to be an everyday way of life thing for Stephenson, putting in the work over the long haul so that eventually his showing the basic signs of progress isn't considered news.
One bad decision in less than a minute's time can wipe away months of hard work and professional behavior. So on some level, I'm kind of glad Stephenson is forced away from the Fieldhouse and the team's advisors during the lockout. Seriously, it's not that tough to remain self-motivated and take care of your business so we'll see what happens when Stephenson returns from the lockout with any additional progress solely on his shoulders.