Lance Stephenson launched a public campaign last year to encourage fans to vote him an NBA All-Star and was disappointed when he just missed the cut. The Hornets guard has since been on a mission to prove that he’s one of the league’s elite.
So what will it take for Lance to make the All-Star roster his first year as a Charlotte Hornet? Head coach Steve Clifford talked about this during the team’s media day yesterday.
“I’ve been around Kobe (Bryant) and (Tracy) McGrady and (Latrell) Sprewell in his prime. Lance isn’t there yet,” Clifford said. “Lance was 13 1/2 (ppg.) last year. He’s young and talented. His efficiency shooting the ball, getting his turnovers down (need to improve). For us to talk about him as a legitimate All-Star player who we can play through, that’s the jump he needs to make and he knows that.”
After studying video of Stephenson this summer, Clifford concluded it’s best that Stephenson not see himself first as a scorer, but rather focus on versatility.
“I don’t know if for him to play well it will ever be really big scoring numbers,” Clifford said.
“He naturally plays in a way to make the right play – he hits the roll man a ton on pick-and-roll. He’s not a hungry scorer, which to me is a good thing. If you surround him with shooters, he can be a handful in pick-and-roll. Pass, rebound, he defends well. He’s a guy who can play well in all aspects of the game.”
Part of Stephenson’s game is the Brooklyn edge and swagger he brings to the court, the passionate way he plays defense and the confidence that every shot will go in the basket. If he can keep those qualities, while improving on what Coach Clifford spoke of, he can expect to represent Charlotte at the Barclay’s center in February’s All-Star game.