Ex-Lakers Guard Lands With G League Team After NBA Return Attempt

lance stephenson

Getty Former Lakers guard Lance Stephenson.

Over the years, Lance Stephenson has been trying to get back on an NBA roster. The veteran guard even played in China for a couple of years so that he could continue to play, but has continued to seek NBA opportunities. He even held a private workout for several teams as recently as August, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Stephenson most recently played for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2018-2019 season. He averaged 7.2 points a game in 68 games and only lasted one season with the team. Despite the consistent rejection, Stephenson isn’t giving up. He’s now going to try his chances in the G League. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Stephenson was selected No. 13 in the G League draft to play for Denver Nuggets’ Grand Rapids affiliate.

The G League isn’t ideal for a player with nine years of NBA experience who started in 199 games. However, he’s going to have to take what he can get.

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Will Stephenson Get Another Shot in the NBA?

Lance Stephenson

GettyLance Stephenson.

Stephenson’s determination to get back on an NBA roster is admirable. Many players would’ve just given up at this point and accepted that they have to play overseas. It’s clear that Stephenson doesn’t want to accept that fate. At 31-years-old, he should have plenty left in the tank as an athlete.

That problem facing Stephenson is that it’s hard to know how much he’ll bring to a team. He’s a solid defender, which is always a plus, but he can’t shoot. He’s only made 31.5% of his threes over his career.  Every team needs good defenders but they prefer if they can at least hit the occasional three. Stephenson is no threat from beyond the arc. Playing in the G League could be a step in the right direction. The Nuggets will get a really good look at him while he plays in Grand Rapids. It’s possible he could get a shot on a 10-day contract at some point this season.


Could Lakers Look at Stephenson?

If Stephenson plays well, perhaps a Lakers return isn’t out of the question. The team has been ravaged by injuries to start the season. Through two games, they haven’t had Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza or Sekou Doumbouya. The injuries to Horton-Tucker and Ariza could linger on for a while but the other three players should be back soon.

Regardless, the Lakers could search for some help if depth continues to be an issue. Stephenson wouldn’t be their first choice but he could be an option. The defense is a mess right now. The Lakers have allowed 236 total points through two games, both losses. Head coach Frank Vogel is a defensive specialist so there’s no doubt the defense is making him sick right now. Stephenson isn’t an elite defender but he’d be an upgrade over some of the current Lakers. Vogel coached Stephenson for four seasons in Indiana so there’s a familiarity there.

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