2014-15 Season in Review | Lance Stephenson

by Quinton Wash

By Sam Perley, hornets.com

2014-15 Season in Review | Lance Stephenson

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Tipping Off
After spending the first four years of his NBA career with the Indiana Pacers, Lance Stephenson joined the Charlotte Hornets after signing a three-year, $27 million contract on July 18, 2014 and opened the season as the team’s starting shooting guard.

Starting Strong
In the month of November, Stephenson played his best basketball of the season with averages of 9.7 points, 7.6 rebounds (first in NBA amongst shooting guards) and 5.3 assists (fifth amongst shooting guards), all while adjusting to completely new teammates, a new coach and a new system for the first time in his career. Stephenson recorded four-consecutive double-digit rebounding performances from Nov. 5-11 and scored in double figures in nine of 17 games in November.

Did He Call Glass?
Stephenson’s most memorable game of the season came on Nov. 7 against Atlanta when he finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and banked in a 33-foot three-pointer at the buzzer to seal a 122-119 double-overtime victory for Charlotte. This was also Stephenson’s first double-double as a Hornet, which helped Charlotte snap a six-game home losing streak to the Hawks.

Pelvic Pain
Stephenson’s first season in Charlotte hit a snag the following month when he suffered a pelvic sprain against Phoenix on Dec. 17, forcing him to the sidelines for nearly a month. He returned on Jan. 14 against San Antonio and would proceed to come off the bench for the duration of the season, much of which was plagued by inconsistency and difficulties adjusting to live game action after missing the previous 14 games.

Early End to Season
Stephenson’s season concluded on Apr. 7 against Miami as a lingering toe injury prevented him from playing in Charlotte’s final five games. On the season, Stephenson managed to score in double figures 22 times and tied or led the team in assists 18 times. He also tied a career-high with 14 rebounds against Portland on Nov. 11 and set a new career high with 13 assists against Denver on Jan. 31.

Time to Adjust
Despite the struggles in his first season in Charlotte, Stephenson remains an extremely versatile player who may have to take longer to adjust to a totally new environment with the Hornets than some people expected.
“He’s a very talented player. He can do some pretty amazing things with the basketball. When he's in rhythm and playing well, our team has a lot more options open for us in terms of his own shot and finding teammates, which he likes to do,said teammate, Gerald Henderson.

2015-16 Outlook
Going into the offseason, Stephenson understands improving his jump shot will be a huge step in overcoming some of the first-year struggles he had in Charlotte.
“I’m staying here during the offseason and going to have time to spend with the coaches and figure out how I can be successful here, says Stephenson.“I’m going to have to come in and figure out how I’m going to be a better shooter. Being a good shooter helps my game because it gives me opportunities to drive if [opposing players] are slacking off. This summer is going to be huge for me [in terms of] getting back into my groove and helping this group.”

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