ESPN Summer Forecast: Lance Stephenson named 2nd-worst newcomer


The summer of ESPN, with sport’s entertainments biggest minds now delivering forecast votes on who they believe is the worst newcomer to a team this summer.

While Sacramento’s Rajon Rondo easily first on the list (15 first-place votes, 84 total points) it comes as little surprise that Clippers shooting guard Lance Stephenson, who the team traded Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes for, comes in the number two spot (four first-place votes, 37 total points).

To compliment the article which came with zero descriptors outside of embedded Twitter commentary, ESPN paired an episode of True Hoop TV alongside it, with Ethan Sherwood-Strauss and Amin Elhassan discussing the ranking. Here’s what the two had to say on Stephenson’s second-place standing :

"Sherwood-Strauss: “I think that’s a little unfair that Lance Stephenson is second and Deron Williams is down there at four, behind Wesley Matthews who is there because of his injury.”Elhassan: “Look, Lance Stephenson brings a lot of the ridicule upon himself. He’s done things and said things that don’t endear him to people, so it’s an easy piñata to grab your baseball bat and wave at. I don’t think he’s the best newcomer, but I certainly don’t think he’s the worst either.”"

I get the logic behind Stephenson’s placement on this list. Of the players featured in the top-5, Stephenson arguably had the worst season of the nominees, averaging 8.2 points while shooting 37% from the field and 17% from three (the worst in NBA history for a player who has attempted at least 100 threes), 4.5 rebounds, and 2.1 turnovers per game. Combine that with what Elhassan referred to in Stephenson’s enigmatic, “me, me” personality and what you have is the recipe for disaster.

To be honest, no one knows what the Clippers will get out of Lance this year. Odds are he’ll fall somewhere in between the train wreck we saw in Charlotte last season and the pretty good/”slight train wreck toward the end” that we saw in his final season with the Indiana Pacers. With the Clippers shooting for a championship, it’s imperative Stephenson leans toward the latter; giving up Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes in exchange for Lance, the New York native is expected to help bring some flavor to the expected championship contender, whether it be with his ability to score off the dribble, play-making ability, or attitude/mentality — especially in the playoffs when teams key in on Chris Paul and Blake Griffin on offense. But until people see the good happening from Lance with their own eyes, there’ll be huge doubts about what he can do in a new setting — in a contract year — hence his placement behind Rondo on this list.

Surprisingly, Lance wasn’t the lone Clipper to appear on the worst newcomer While he failed to receive enough votes to land in the top-5 of ‘Worst Newcomers’, Clippers’ forward Josh Smith appeared on the list as the 8th worst with nine votes — I don’t quite understand this one once you compare Smith’s talent/production level with his salary for the 2015-16 season (the veteran’s minimum).


For those too lazy to check out the ESPN post, here is the top-10 ranking for this particular list:

1 – Rajon Rondo (SAC)
2 – Lance Stephenson (LAC)
3 – Wesley Matthews (DAL)
4 – Deron Williams (DAL)
5 – Roy Hibbert (LAL)
6 – Arron Afflalo (NYK)
7 – Andrea Bargnani (BKN)
8 – Josh Smith (LAC)
9 – DeMarre Carroll (TOR)
10 – Monta Ellis (IND)

Some quick thoughts on this ten:

  • I get the Wesley Matthews thing: talented wing, historically bad injury, given lots of money. A lot could go wrong here for Mark Cuban and co.
  • Roy Hibbert doesn’t belong here considering the Lakers gave up zilch to get him. DeMarre Carroll doesn’t belong here either; he may be overpaid but he’ll undoubtedly make the Raptors a better team.
  • Rajon Rondo is the easy choice for no.1 but my vote would probably go to Bargs and the Knicks. Even at the veterans minimum, Bargs is a waste of space for the Nets, who could use the same money, time, and resources that’ll eventually be allotted to Andrea on a young player with upside and can help the franchise be better for the future. Because Bargs is bad; like, worse than Rondo was last year bad, and has been for the last three season.
  • The Monta Ellis selection is an interesting one, and one I wouldn’t have guessed to appear here. I’ve my reservations about the Ellis/Indy pairing, but majority of it has to do with Ellis taking away from the excellent version of George Hill we saw last season, and that could hurt Indy in their fight for a playoff seed.
  • Take: Afflalo isn’t the worst newcomer on his team, the Knicks: it’s Derrick Williams, easily.
  • Not enough votes for Tim Hardaway, Jr., whom the Hawks traded a first-round pick for, and Spencer Hawes, whom the Hornets actually traded for (which says eons about how Charlotte’s front office and coaching staff felt about Lance Stephenson going into the summer of 2015).

Let us know what you think of Lance’s placement as the second worst newcomer for the upcoming 2015-16 season below: