With all this talk on Luol Deng, being a perfect fit to this squad, and the choice many MFFL's would like to throw our money at this off season, lost is the idea of signing 6'5'' shooting guard, Lance Stephenson. Its obvious this team is in some need of some reliable perimeter defenders with Marion struggling mightily and our back court (Jose/Monta) being what it is. I believe Lance Stephenson should be our number one priority this off season.
First off, he plugs immediately as our perimeter stopper. Hes 6'5'' with a long 6'10'' wingspan. He's also a hefty 230 lbs and has guarded the likes of Lebron James, and Melo in last years playoffs, and held his own. Hes built like Wade and can definitely take a beating, hes also very durable. This guy is a bulldog.
His physical gifts allow Lance Stephenson to be an effective scorer. Very underrated offensively. He can out muscle most 2's and some of the smaller 3's in the league. He's great in transition. A capable finisher in the pant. He's also hitting the three ball at a very decent clip (.375% on the year thus far).
He can play multiple positions. He has logged minutes at the 1,2, and 3. This is very ideal due to Carlilse's tendencies to mix and match lineups. He's a great passer and facilitator, averaging an absurd 5.1 assists as the teams 3rd ball handler. Behind Paul George and George Hill no less. He would be an excellent fit next to Jose in the starting lineup. Giving us a competent ball handler with size and great defense. This also allows Monta to play the sixth man role which he is definitely more suited for.
Since he was drafted 40th overall in the 2010 draft, he will be an UFA this off season. He's up for grabs. Indiana has already over 50 million committed to their 4 other starts next season. Hibbert will be on the 2nd year of his max contract, and Paul George will be entering the first starting next season. West and George Hill are already making a combined 20 million a season. I don't believe Indiana despite their position as contenders this season, has the luxury of being able to afford 5 high caliber starters. They are still a small market team. Harden was traded from the rockets despite the Thunder winning the west and making a finals appearance. With Lance's age and skill set he will definitely demand a big raise this summer.
He's young. He's talented. He's physically gifted. He's got a lot more room to grow. With our draft record being what it is, the Mavericks at this point are forced to find talent elsewhere. Lance Stephenson 23, can help this team win NOW. But there is a possibility for more. He has definitely shown a lot of growth in his 3 seasons in the league. Who's to say he doesn't develop in a marquee player for this franchise. With Dirk maybe 3 years off from retiring it would be nice for us fans to have a player like Stephenson to give us hope and positive out look for the future. I for one am tired of every other team in the NBA having that exciting young player on their squad.
RealGM also has a great article on Lance Stephenson perhaps being the next Harden/Bledsoe type player for another franchise to get their hands on.
"When you evaluate under-25 players, skill-set is more important than statistics. And when you look at Stephenson’s game in total, it’s scary how good he could be. Still only 23, he’s already a better shooter than Dwyane Wade, a better defender than Harden and a better passer than George. If he could dominate the ball in an uptempo system that spread the floor and let him play in space, like Bledsoe does in Phoenix, he might put up serious numbers." Jonathan Tjarks, RealGM
Sign Lance Stephenson this off season. DO IT.