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Stephenson Talks Offseason, Team Upgrades, Granger

by Scott Agness | @ScottAgness

August 9, 2013

Lance Stephenson is back in his workshop this summer. The 22-year-old has spent much of his offseason once again in Indy, working out daily at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, honing his craft in preparation for the 2013-14 NBA season.

Last year, in the absence of Danny Granger, Stephenson started 72 games plus all 19 playoffs games before the Pacers fell in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to Miami. After averaging 8.8 points and 3.9 rebounds, he’s looking to make an even greater impact in his fourth year in the pros. It’s also a contract year for Stephenson, who’ll be a free agent after this upcoming year, where he’ll earn about $1 million – quite a bargain for the Pacers.

After Stephenson wowed the crowd at the Knox Indy Pro Am on Thursday night, he talked one-on-one with Pacers.com. Read his comments below.

On his Pro Am performance (33 points, eight rebounds, three assists):

“I just tried to make the easy basket and just play hard ball. I’m not trying to waste my time. I’m using this to get in shape.”

On what he’s working on in the gym this summer:

“I’m just been lifting, working on my jump shot and working on the little things that coach wants me do to improve for next year.”

On how the Knox Indy Pro Am compares to his New York summer play:

“I don’t want to compare to New York. [New York’s] more of streetball game. It’s a different atmosphere. There’s a lot more stuff going on than just what you’re seeing out here.”

On whether he can get more out of the Indy Pro Am because of the more conducive atmosphere:

“I’m not going to say New York is better or Indy is better. I just try to use it to get me in shape and get me ready for next year.”

On what he’s been up to this summer:

“I just try to enjoy my summer and try to get as much rest as possible. I get with the trainers and get with the coaches and try to work on the little things that I need to work on.”

On whether he’s worked out with any other Pacers:

“No, everybody is doing their individual stuff so we’re just doing different stuff right now.”

On the team getting together soon in California:

“Yes, we’re going on the 19th. Everybody is going to be in California. We’re going to see how the team looks and see where everybody’s at. We’ll talk to each other, have a good dinner and enjoy the beautiful weather out there.”

On the coaching additions:

“They’re great so far. They’re already teaching me a lot of stuff right now. We’re watching film, … working on the plays and the spots where I need to be on defense next year.”

On whether Nate McMillan will fill a similar role as Brian Shaw in developing players:

“He was a great point guard. He’s going to come in and follow Shaw’s footsteps and also bring his own ideas and what he knows about the game and bring it to the other guards so it can help us.”

On talking with Danny and his health:

“I’ve seen him. He’s looking good. He’s just trying to get in shape. He ain’t been playing in a while so he’s struggling getting in shape but I see him improving everyday so he’ll be alright.”

On Vogel’s challenge to him to earn the starting spot over Granger:

“No matter what coach decides to do, I’m going to try to play to the best of my ability. If I start, come off the bench – it doesn’t matter. As long as I’m helping my team win.”

On why he wanted to have an AAU team (Born Ready Elite, both in Indy and Brooklyn):

“I love helping the kids and I’m just trying to do anything possible to help them. My dad is running it and it’s all about just helping out the kids. I want to leave my own mark and I want to help kids get into college and be good players. Plus, I played in the AAU circuit so I know how it is. I enjoyed it a lot.”

On the recently released schedule:

“I just go game by game. I ain’t worried about no schedule. I just play ball. I don’t worry about who I’m playing. I love getting out on the floor and playing good competition.”

On whether he’s still as eager as they all were at the end of the season to get going again:

“Of course. We got a few new players that are going to follow in our footsteps from last year and get even better. I think we’re looking good this year.”

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