Lance Stephenson came to Charlotte last year with so much promise. Even Hornets owner Michael Jordan said the mercurial Indiana Pacers transplant was key to the Hornets future — a player who could slow down LeBron James. That Lance Stephenson never arrived in Charlotte, and when he said goodbye after a single Hornets season the Charlotte faithful said good riddance. Stephenson headed out to Los Angeles. It’s smart thinking really: if you’re a guy some consider a head case, go to LA and you won’t stick out.
But shoot 2-for-14 in your first couple preseason games with one of the Western Conference favorites, you can’t hide. It seems like Charlotte all over again, early in Stephenson’s Clippers tenure. Stephenson has already proven to coach Doc Rivers what his streaky offensive prowess can obscure. As Rivers himself says: “Lance is not a great shooter.” Rivers says he doesn’t “look at Lance as a scorer” but as a “guy to create plays.” Problem is if Stephenson’s no threat to score, he isn’t going to be creating many plays for his teammates. A player — especially a swing/wing — has to be potent to be generous. Doc Rivers may wish at times this year that his nickname came with the real PhD he’ll need to utilize his talented but disparate Clippers roster. Stephenson is one of nine new players. They scored 73 points against the Raptors.