Lance Stephenson says Clippers’ practices are like All-Star games


Mar 8, 2015; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Lance Stephenson (1) reacts to a basket in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Charlotte won 108-101. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The stories coming out of the Los Angeles Clippers’ training camp so far are as good as the team and it’s fans could have hoped for, and the comments from the players still keep getting even better. We’re three days into Clippers camp now and everything is shaping up nicely, from the bench’s performance to the overall competitive nature that has been instilled throughout the team already.

The start to camp has been particularly impressive to one of the Clippers’ newest members Lance Stephenson, who is possibly more ready than anyone to go out into 2015-16 to not only compete for a championship, but to prove what he’s capable of. It’s time for him to move past his terrible year with the Charlotte Hornets and revitalize his talent and tenacity.

Even if you aren’t a fan of Stephenson, you can’t deny that his ability and new situation have provided him with serious potential for a major turnaround season.

He has a great deal of talented players to learn from in L.A., too. Surrounded by All-NBA players such as Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, to skilful championship winning veterans such as Paul Pierce, there are great players to help influence and develop multiple aspects of Stephenson’s game.

He’s clearly appreciative of his surroundings, and has said that when the Clippers play against each other in scrimmages, the talent level has been so high they feel like All-Star games (per Dan Woike of the Orange County Register):

Like an All-Star game. That’s a pretty high comparison for a player who’s only been with a team for three days of training camp.

Yet, with two guaranteed All-Stars in Paul and Griffin, and a player who at least has a possibility of becoming an All-Star in Jordan, not to mention an ex-perrenial All-Star in Pierce, that assessment is fairly apt. When it comes to overall talent and depth, the Clippers easily have one of the best rosters in the NBA.

When asked after practice how the talent level of the Clippers compares to the imposing Indiana Pacers team he played with in 2013-14 that made the Eastern conference finals, it was clear to see just how easily Stephenson rates his new team higher (courtesy of Fox Sports West):

As the man who will be playing the biggest role in the Clippers’ second unit backcourt, Lance Stephenson can easily become a main feature in the team’s elite core of talent. There’s no need to continue focussing on the past year in Charlotte now, and it’s time to let Stephenson go to work and prove himself.

Even with so many players as strong influences and a coach such as Doc Rivers to learn from, we can’t expect Stephenson to instantly return to his triple double ways from his time with the Pacers. However, in a far better offense with a coach to encourage tough defense, there’s every reason to expect Stephenson to gradually reach his potential throughout the 2015-16 season.

Next: Paul Pierce says Clippers' first practices are best he's been a part of