Clippers: 5 reasons Lance Stephenson should not be traded

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His playmaking ability

After starting the season with plenty of games playing at least 20 minutes, Stephenson’s playing time has fallen dramatically as Doc has taken to keeping him further down the rotation as guys like Crawford and Pierce are strangely given more time. Apparently Doc thinks it’s better to play older guys who are shooting poorly and can’t defend. Even Wesley Johnson is getting little playing time, but that’s whole different issue for another time.

As for Stephenson, his playmaking has been on display in a similar way to the rest of his skill set: in flashes.

When given the chance recently, he’s impressed more when the bench runs through him. When he gets the opportunity to handle the ball more, or drive to the rim and create for teammates, he brings the kind of spark that can be extremely valuable in bursts off the bench.

So, what happened the last time Stephenson got to play 20 minutes in a game? He looked to drive more, went 3-of-4 from deep, and tallied 19 points on 72.7 percent shooting with three rebounds and three assists.

As for his passing, the numbers are low which is largely due to him struggling to find consistency in the way Doc has been using him. With the way he’s been utilized and his low minutes, it makes sense that Stephenson’s numbers are low. However, there’s no way to deny that he can create opportunities for Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan with the way he can drive and draw defenders away while dropping the ball to them for an easy finish.

Like this:

Or this:

Yes, it doesn’t happen all the time, but you certainly won’t see many other guys creating plays like that.

Unlike Crawford or Pierce, Stephenson can play with a mindset to create looks for his teammates. The talent to do so is there, it’s just harder to unleash when his role is all over the place while Doc uses the older players he trusts instead.

It’s still so early in the season, and he’s improved since his initial poor games with the Clippers. To give up on Lance’s potential already just doesn’t make sense at this point.

Next: Unlike others, he can play defense