The Pacers current roadie has them in Los Angeles on Thursday night to take on the LeBron-look Lakers for the first time since the gnarly nemesis took his talents out of the East to a fresh start with the Lakers.
While trying to develop a supporting cast of young talent and veteran role players, the Lakers have sputtered at times but are still 11-9 through 20 games. As usual, when LeBron James is on the court, his team is formidable.
But with the Pacers in town and backcourt injuries piling up for the Lakers, former Pacers spark plug Lance Stephenson is drawing extra attention. Lance joined LeBron and Magic Johnson with the Lakers after the Pacers appeared to have alligator arms when extending an offer to keep him at the Fieldhouse.
Lance spoke with the media yesterday, a J. Michael reported from L.A., and had nothing but great things to say about the Pacers and his anticipation for checking in with the team and staff.
Coach Luke Walton added his name to a long list of teammates and coaches of Lance who delivered a positive assessment of Lance with a mild caveat. There are always smiles when they are asked to discuss Lance. We hear about his humor, energy, personality with knowing chuckles that reveal we’re not getting the full story. Here’s what Walton had to say:
“He brings a competitive spirit, another ball-handler to get his own shot or gets someone else a shot,” Walton said Wednesday as his team prepares to play the Pacers at Staples Center on Thursday. “He makes practice exciting every day. In multiple ways.”
There it is: “...In multiple ways.” I absolutely love it. Lance is a high-energy, high-maintenance player. What makes him tick is also what makes him a fan favorite and so fun to watch. He always ready to talk trash, never backing down from a challenge and doesn’t alter his approach regardless of the result. Dealing with that on a day-to-day basis is likely why teammates and coaches chuckle through discussing Lance.
But Lance is also why I can’t wait to stay up late tonight to watch the Pacers in La La Land. You never know what Lance may do, but good, bad or indifferent with regard to the game...it will be entertaining.
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