Lance Stephenson has been one of the more popular topics when discussing the New Orleans Pelicans during most of September. Despite the partially guaranteed contract, he has been in the news as much if not more than nearly all of the other summer free agent acquisitions. Never mind the fact that Dell Demps announced on media day that nothing will be given to him or Alvin Gentry recently telling Jim Rome that Lance may be able to step in for Jrue Holiday.
What is your confidence level in Lance Stephenson making the Pelicans roster out of training camp? If he does make the regular season roster, what are the odds he could become a contributing member of the rotation?
Kevin: This signing is pretty puzzling to me. Did Lance have no other options? Really? Has he not heard the complaints about Tyreke Evans' game from the staff, media and fans? They are so similar so I never understood the addition. However, I love Tyreke so I'm pretty good with having a substitute to help out while he's on the shelf. With Holiday, Evans and Pondexter out for some time, I do think Stephenson's ball-handling and playmaking will earn him a spot on the roster.
Chris: I feel that Lance will make the Pelicans roster because he would give them another NBA capable player on the cheap. With Jrue, Qpon and Tyreke out for a large portion of the season, Lance would fill a void. If you came to me at the end of the season and told me Lance was one the Pelicans biggest surprises, I would not be shocked. Conversely, I would not be surprised if he were released midseason and signed overseas immediately thereafter.
David: If the Pelicans find a way to create a 16th roster spot via an injury exception (three players are already expected to be out opening night), I am certain that Lance Stephenson is the man who gets that slot. This guard rotation of Tim Frazier, E'Twaun Moore, Langston Galloway, and Buddy Hield is not going to get the job done on both ends of the court. I think Stephenson has the potential to be a rotation player, possibly ahead of far better compensated players. When Jrue Holiday returns, a legitimate discussion on if Stephenson is a better option at small forward over Solomon Hill could commence.
Kenny: I would prefer Lance make this team because he would add a certain edge to the roster, but the biggest question mark is who do you cut to make room for him? Regardless, if he were to make the squad, I could see him become a valuable part of the rotation after just a few weeks. The Pelicans need additional ball-handlers and playmakers with Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans out for an extended period time. Stephenson could be that stopgap.
Oleh: My gut feeling is that Stephenson will not make the team out of training camp. There were two ways he was going to join a Pelicans roster laden with a full 15 guaranteed contracts: either impress the hell out of the coaches and management during the exhibition season, or as David alluded to, join the team on an injury exemption.
After watching Lance be too much like Lance of old during the Pelicans open scrimmage on Wednesday, I feel his odds of making the team now solely hinge on whether the team suffers another injury before one of Evans, Holiday and Pondexter are back in the rotation. I hate to say it, but past history says there is a good chance that one of the remaining 12 healthy bodies go down before then. And, if the team does avoid the injury bug, spending one month with the team prior to the regular season will give him a leg up on the competition to be the first emergency fill-in.
Travis: To me, this is the most interesting question as we move closer and closer to game 1. I’ve always liked the Lance dance; I like his attitude; I like his rebounding; I love his ball-handling and his play-making. I also remember being super hyped to see him take over in Charlotte and after a few months, searching Twitter for gifs of dumpster fires whenever he came in the game. But now he’s desperate. Maybe not “blue-collar” desperate - he’s a 1 percenter, after all, having made more than $21M in his life before the age of 26 - but he might be yet another interesting dude to up his game under Alvin Gentry.
I would like his chances to make the roster. After all, he’s one of the only guys on the Pelicans to have played on a high-level playoff team as a contributing factor, albeit 3 years ago. But, the addition of Stephenson would mean moving one of the other guaranteed contracts - and the best candidate might be someone like AD “friends 4 lyfe” Alonzo Gee.
Who would have ever thought this in 2013: Alonzo Gee might prevent Lance Stephenson from making an NBA roster in 2016-17.