Lance Stephenson is struggling to start the season. To put it kindly. Another way to say that is he has been Roseanne Barr singing the national anthem bad. He has shot 29.6 percent so far this season. The man has shot just 7-of-13 at the rim, he is 0-of-10 shooting outside the paint. Small sample size and all, but that’s bad. So bad he got benched for the fourth quarter once this season already (last Saturday vs. Memphis).
To be fair, he looked better against the Knicks Sunday — 14 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, he was 4-of-9 shooting, with 12 of the points coming in a strong third quarter, but the fourth saw three Stephenson turnovers and with that more of the Gary Neal show — but still has not looked like the Stephenson the Hornets thought was a steal at $9 million a year last summer.
How does he get on track? Stephenson thinks Stephenson just needs to be more aggressive, something he told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
“I tried to make something happen. I let the game come to me last two games and ended up doing nothing,” Stephenson said. “I need to be more aggressive, be in attack mode.”
With aggressive Stephenson also often comes some turnovers, something Frank Vogel seemed more comfortable with that Steve Clifford does this year. Hence the benching. Which, shockingly, Stephenson did not like (and the Hornets lost the game scoring just 69 points), reports Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops.com. Stephenson also said he’s moved on.
“It’s tough, but it’s part of being a pro,” Stephenson said. “Learning the system, learning new guys, not getting frustrated, keep playing through my mistakes and just trying to get other people involved. I play through instincts and when my players learn my instincts we’ll be a better team.”
The Hornets need the offense. Through three games Charlotte is averaging 91.7 points per 100 possessions, only the Sixers have been worse. Stephenson — along with Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson — were supposed to fix that this season.
They likely will, it’s just going to take a little time. And it won’t be smooth getting there.