On January 13, 2022, a day after signing his second 10-day contract with the Indiana Pacers, Lance Stephenson joined the Jim Rome Show to discuss his return to the NBA.
Lance Stephenson spoke about his performance in his third stint with the Indiana Pacers and his special bond with the fan base. Here’s a look at what Lance had to say on the show.
Stephenson was making the rounds, catching media attention as he thrived on a fresh start with his Indiana Pacers.
Averaging 17.3 points per game, 8.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game when playing in front of his home crowd, he was a joy to watch.
It’s because of his historic 20-point first quarter off the bench and his career-high assists that reminded everyone of the energy that accompanies Lance in a Pacers uniform.
Stephenson was asked if he thought he was playing some of the best basketball of his career by show host Jim Rome.
“I feel like I’m very comfortable, and it’s all about communicating with coaches and teammates, knowing when they’re going to be open and when they’re going to shoot. I feel like I learned that in three days of being around these guys.
I feel like these guys just want to win and work hard, so when I got there I spoke to the coach and he told me what he wanted from me. I learned the pieces as fast as possible, watched a lot of movies. When you do things like that, the game becomes easier.
I feel like when I came to the Pacers our communication skills were on point,” Stephenson said.
Lance played with Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis during his previous stint with the team in the 2017-18 season. There has certainly been an obvious chemistry on the pitch for Sabonis and Stephenson.
In the Pacers’ last win, the duo each had their own career scoring nights — Lance scoring 14 assists and Sabonis a career-high 42 points.
Before making his NBA return, missing two seasons, Lance traveled overseas to play in China, then returned to the NBA G-League before returning to the NBA.
Jim Rome noted that very few guys of Lance’s stature would go that route after so many years of competing at the NBA level.
“I will play basketball anywhere. No matter where I play, I had a mission to come back to the NBA. Going to the G-League… I took it like I was sitting on the couch, practicing.
I wasn’t in that form of game speed. It takes a lot, the G-League got me in shape, got me up and down and playing professional basketball again. I feel like I needed to take that route to get to where I am right now,” Stephenson said.
Lance played for the G-League affiliate of the Denver Nuggets, Grand Rapids Gold before being signed to his first tough 10-day contract by the Atlanta Hawks. Stephenson shared the field with former All-Star Isaiah Thomas during his time with the Gold.
Stephenson’s connection to Indiana has always been special. He has played great games with this franchise and the bond between the team and Lance is special.
The two have a similar personality, Stephenson says.
“It’s like a family. They saw me grow here, they saw me grow into the player I am now. They love this hard and aggressive basketball and this passion – will do anything to win.
I felt like we were connected that way because Indiana is all about grinding, being an underdog, and doing the dirty work to win games. We just fell in love with each other over the years (because of) this passion for basketball”.
Fun fact: Lance is now in his seventh season as a member of the Indiana Pacers, which means Myles Turner has been a member of the Pacers for the same amount of time as Lance. They both played seven seasons for Indiana.
Lance is looking to end the year in a Pacers uniform, not just another 10-day deal. According to NBA correspondent Marc Stein, the Indiana Pacers are expected to sign Lance Stephenson for the remainder of the season after his 10-day contract expires on Monday.
We’ll see Stephenson next when the Pacers take on the Pheonix Suns at home this Friday, January 14, 2022 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.