Is Lance Stephenson an All-Star?
Indiana shooting guard might be NBA's most improved player
When All-Star reserves are chosen next week, the most interesting question coaches will answer might be the fate of Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson. Stephenson made his pitch to fans with a YouTube video, but the better argument came in Thursday's nationally televised win over the New York Knicks, which served as a 150-minute Stephenson infomercial. As TNT broadcasters Reggie Miller and Chris Webber argued on his behalf, Stephenson scored a career-high 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting.
Stephenson's backers can note he's in elite company. On the strength of a league-high three triple-doubles, Stephenson is one of four players in the NBA averaging at least six rebounds and five assists per game. Two of the others are MVP favorites Kevin Durant and LeBron James. (Never mind that the fourth player, Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, is unlikely to be an All-Star in the Western Conference.)
Looking deeper, Stephenson's All-Star case shows more holes. He doesn't shine by advanced statistics. Stephenson is fourth on his own team in PER (15.7), behind certain All-Stars Paul George (22.6) and Roy Hibbert (17.3), as well as forward David West (16.5), who isn't getting any buzz for a third All-Star appearance.
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