Stephenson a Huge Disappointment in Charlotte, Potentially on Trading Block

I think we can look back now and see that there was addition by subtraction when Lance left, and I'm sure he regrets leaving now. The Pacers (7-10), even after being forced to use the hardship exception, have a better record than the Hornets (4-14), and their future is relatively bright.

There's an excellent article by Zach Lowe on Grantland about Charlotte and how miserable they've been all season. It highlights the disappointment Lance has been there. The article also validates much of the conjecture about Lance's attitude, stat padding, and relationship with his teammates we had here. It's gotten so bad, there's speculation the Hornets may already be willing to trade him away, though they can't entertain offers until December 15. From the article:

Free agents signed this past offseason can’t be traded until December 15, and few would be surprised if the Hornets make and take calls on Lance Stephenson ahead of that trigger date.

The Hornets viewed Stephenson as a dose of perimeter dynamism for a plodding offense built around Walker’s pick-and-roll work and Professor Al’s post-up trickery. The 2013-14 version of that offense didn’t really have a third leg — a creative off-the-dribble threat waiting on the weak side when smart defenses snuffed out the good stuff. Stephenson didn’t promise to solve Charlotte’s fatal spacing issues, but with Indiana he was an average 3-point shooter and a bullying rim attacker on the pick-and-roll.

It hasn’t worked. Charlotte ranks 27th in points per 100 possessions, and Stephenson has been a train wreck. He’s shooting just 37 percent overall and a ghastly 7-of-38 from deep. He passes up open 3s, choosing instead to whip out an array of fancy crossovers and behind-the-back jobs that go nowhere. Stephenson’s drive-and-dish game has opened up good looks for teammates, but his shooting issues have outweighed his bursts of productive creativity.

He’s clanking almost every pull-up jumper on the pick-and-roll, which means that when Stephenson can’t get all the way to the cup, he’s a borderline liability. Opposing defenses know that Stephenson won’t pull from deep, and they’ve taken an extra step or so away from him when he doesn’t have the ball. Charlotte’s offense is in clogged toilet mode, leaving Jefferson and the team’s ball handlers to navigate a thicket of bodies just to approach the dotted line.

Stephenson is an easy scapegoat, and that’s partly his own doing. His body language has been horrible, and that degrades morale. He pouts when he doesn’t get the ball on the weak side, flapping his wings and looking skyward as if his teammates have wronged him. He steals rebounds, and he hot dogs with the ball at times.

It's interesting that Charlotte may be willing to trade him, and I know some people are still fans and would entertain bringing him back. Personally, I think the Pacers dodged a bullet when he left, and while sad, he will likely never find a system and role that will make him as successful as he was in Indy. I hope that if Jordan comes calling, Bird hangs up the phone.