AND1 SEASON PREVIEW: LANCE STEPHENSON

Last season, Lance Stephenson stepped into the starting lineup and became the catalyst for the Eastern Conference Finalists. Now, Danny Granger will miss at least the first few weeks of the season due to injury, meaning the debate about the Indy’s starting lineup is over. Lance is in.

Sound familiar?

Lance was a surprise starter last year, but he stayed in the lineup because his energy lifts the whole team; if you don’t follow the Pacers, you probably saw his destruction of his hometown team, the Knicks, in the Eastern Conference Semis. Indy may have fallen to the Heat, but Lance was a big reason the series went seven games. He spent the offseason working with a shooting coach to get his percentages up—if he becomes a threat from outside, look out.

So this season has started just the way the last one did, with Lance back in the starting five. But after all he’s been through, and the way last season ended, Lance doesn’t care who starts. For him, it’s all about how you finish.