The Los Angeles Lakers brought in several veterans during the offseason, including an overlooked signing in Lance Stephenson.
The Los Angeles Lakers needed to add depth to what was a relatively thin roster while remaining flexible in cap space for the 2019 offseason. After adding LeBron James, the only real way to do that was to sign veteran players to one-year contracts that would not restrict the team.
That practically forced the Lakers to bring in Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson on one-year contracts — quite the assortment of interesting players. The front office also resigned Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a one-year deal.
Before the season even began, Rondo seemed like he would be the most productive of the veterans. However, it has been the exact opposite as McGee has been the standout acquisition.
McGee has averaged 17.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game this year. Granted, it is just five games, but he is still the standout veteran signing of the summer.
One acquisition that is not getting as much credit is Lance Stephenson. While Stephenson has a bit of a comical following, it does not extend much past that.
From a pure numbers standpoint, Stephenson has been good thus far; he is averaging 11.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Stephenson nearly even had a triple-double against the Suns, coming up just two rebounds and assists short.
He has really thrived while Rondo has been out serving as the backup point guard. Once Rondo returns, Stephenson won’t get the same minutes and play the same role and that is concerning for his production.
However, even if he only scores 10 a game with three assists and three rebounds that is still some good numbers for a number seven or eight option in the rotation. It is not the numbers that is Stephenson’s biggest strength, as the team could have gotten that same production elsewhere.
It is his role as a glue guy that makes him so important. While he is not as good at defender or as talented as Draymond Green, Stephenson already seems to have that glue guy role that brings the entire team together.
He’s cocky, he’s funny and he tries his best to be flashy whenever he can. Despite going toe-to-toe with LeBron in the past, the two actually seem to really get along with each other in LA.
He can play average defense on a team that needs it and he is going to make a lot of opposing players made this season. If he can aggravate Green or even Kevin Durant just enough to affect their game then it is a huge win for Stephenson.
He won’t light up the scoresheets and when you look back at the 2018-2019 Los Angeles Lakers Stephenson’s name will not jump out, However, he is still an incredibly valuable, and overlooked, part of this team.