(J Alexander Diaz/Lakers.com)
Latest Laker: Lance Stephenson
Coming off one of the most productive campaigns of his eight-year career, Lance Stephenson is looking to leave his next mark in L.A., having agreed to a contract with the Lakers.
A 6-foot-5, 230-pound wing, Stephenson’s offensive skill set stems from his ability to handle the ball and attack the rim.
The 27-year-old was a reliable sixth man for Indiana last year, averaging 9.2 points on 42.7 percent shooting, despite having little success from 3-point range (28.9 percent).
While defenders can sag off of Stephenson due to his inconsistent jumper, he often takes advantage by using that space as a runway for his drives.
With this knack for slashing, the Brooklyn native is also cast as a secondary ball handler, and has shown capable of handling responsibilities out of pick-and-roll.
Stephenson also likes to handle the ball in transition, which makes sense given that he is a skilled rebounder, averaging 5.2 boards last year in 22.6 minutes.
He tied Victor Oladipo and new teammate Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for the second-highest rebounding average among shooting guards, and he was the only one among the top five at his position to play fewer than 30 minutes per game.
With Stephenson, KCP, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Rajon Rondo, the Lakers have a stable of guards who are excellent on the glass.
But perhaps Stephenson’s greatest value lies on the defensive side, where he puts his aggressive mentality and 6-foot-10 wingspan to use.
There is a reason why Stephenson spent the majority of his playoff minutes guarding the best player on the floor: LeBron James.
Stephenson — like everyone else who guarded LeBron — couldn’t contain the postseason’s leading scorer. But he was as good an option as Indiana had during its seven-game slugfest with Cleveland.
Joining his seventh team in five seasons, Stephenson will be challenged to provide consistent production.
He is certainly capable with his unique skill set.
He can handle ball handling duties and is a decent shooter when only asked to spot up. He crashes the glass and accepts any defensive challenge.
Now Stephenson will have to show how those abilities fit alongside his new crew in L.A.