If you missed Thursday night’s infomercial for why Lance belongs in the All-Star Game, let us break it down for you: a career-high 28 points, 4 boards, 4 dimes, maybe a dozen shimmies (most of them during play), three wiggles, and one general sense that the best player on the court could pretty much do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.
Ballislife has the highlights, but we have to question the use of their question mark after “All-Star.” At this point, it’s not a question anymore; last night, Kevin Harlan called him “the talk of the NBA,” which of course made sense after his career night—oh, except Harlan said it two minutes into the game. At halftime, Charles Barkley called Lance “a no brainer” for the All-Star Game.
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There have been 12 triple doubles in the NBA so far this season. Three of them belong to Lance Stephenson. Our man dropped 12, 10 and 10 on the Celtics in 35 minutes last night.
Nobody else—not LeBron James, not KD, not anybody—has more than one triple double. We’re about a third of the way through the season, which puts Lance on pace for nine; no one’s done that since ’07-’08.
Still don’t think he’s special? Lance is averaging 6.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists—only LeBron has that many in both cateogries. Get your ballots out, kids.
Okay, we aren’t gonna hype it up too much. At this point, we don’t even need to. Besides, we still got at least six more to go.
If playing in the league was easy, everyone would do it.
Caught behind a solid string of PG’s including Jeremy Lin, Patrick Beverley and Aaron Brooks, Isaiah Canaan headed down to the Rockets D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers—and because our boy’s a pro, he’s been killing it ever since.
Sunday’s game might’ve been Isaiah’s finest yet. 22 points, 13 dimes, 9-14 from the field, a blistering 4-5 from downtown, a team-best +26 plus/minus … we could go on. And this isn’t just one game: he’s averaging 22 and 10 over seven games, and Rockets fan sites are starting to clamor for the little big man out of Murray State to come back to the big club. League officials have certainly taken notice, naming Isaiah the D-League player of the week.
Isaiah’s got too much game to be down for long, but to us, this is a great lesson. These hurdles happen to almost every player; hell, we remember a time when you couldn’t take two steps without hearing that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school team. At some point, everyone gets told, “no”—it’s how you handle it that counts.
Well, take notes. Isaiah’s showing you how.
He’s been wrecking box scores and holding up fantasy teams for a solid year, but last night, Lance Stephenson notched his first career triple-double, dropping 13 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds on the Grizzlies. It’s an achievement reserved for the best in the league—10+ in three separate categories—and through eight games, Lance is playing like exactly that.
Oh, and just as important: through those eight games, Lance’s Pacers are 8-0. Not a coincidence.
Still, it’s an amazing feat— Kobe has only done it 19 times. Jordan? Just 28. So this is special. Like Kobe and Jordan, Lance is a shooting guard, meaning he doesn’t have the ball-handling responsibilities of a point guard or have to rebound like a forward.
But really, that’s the story of Lance. It doesn’t matter if he’s asked to rebound or distribute the ball—he does it because he’s about the team. There are only a few spots left on the Lance bandwagon. Better get your ticket.
Imagine how hard it is to get to the NBA. The sacrifices you have to make. The sweat you need to leave on the floor.
Now imagine you put in all that work, became the best player in college ball—all while serving in the US Naval Academy.
Serving our country is a greater sacrifice than most of us will ever know, but that’s exactly what David Robinson did. Robinson wasn’t highly recruited out of high school, but he spent the next six years working himself into the top prospect in basketball, all while balancing his military obligations. That’s right, six years, not four—after being drafted first overall by the Spurs in 1987, “The Admiral” spent two years in active duty and didn’t debut with San Antonio until ’89. It’s sacrifice on top of sacrifice.
In honor of Veterans Day, Robinson, who also participates in the NBA’s Hoops for Troops campaign, joined President Obama at a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Washington, D.C. Read USA Today’s full article here, and have a happy Veterans Day. If we can learn even a little from our veterans, we’d be better players—and, of course, better people.
A big shout-out to our boy Jamaal Franklin for making his NBA debut last night in Memphis against the Pelicans. It was a day he’ll never forget, and we’re proud to have been a small part of it.
In classic Jamaal style, he gave Grizzlies fans a little taste of what they’ll see in the future. On his first trip down the court, Jon Leuer missed a short jumper, and Franklin pounced on the rebound for the putback. Not a bad way to welcome yourself to the NBA.
A few minutes later, Jamaal swatted Tyreke Evans at the rim. He added another layup to finish with 4 points, 2 boards and a block in 11 minutes, and the Grizzlies were a team-best +14 with him on the court. But the numbers don’t really matter today—welcome to the League, Jamaal. You made it.
Anyone who’s seen Lance Stephenson play knows he doesn’t get tired easily. That’s the privilege of being Born Ready—he’s still running when other guys are mouth-breathing. But lately Lance has had a great reason to be tired: he’s been hearing the same three questions for weeks.
He’s nasty on the court, but off the court Lance has too much class to get up in a reporter’s face. Good thing we’re here—here are the answers to the questions Lance has been getting lately.
1. What about your contract for next season?
He seems pretty focused on dropping 17, 5 and 7 every night while locking down his opponents’ best scorer. Something tells us the contract will take care of itself.
2. Do you care about starting?
No. He cares about finishing.
3. You’re playing at close to All-Star level. Can you keep it up?
Funny, his opponents have been asking that question too. Why don’t you ask them?
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.
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.
It’s no secret that Memphis has depth on the wing. Tony Allen, Mike Miller, Tayshaun Prince and Quincy Pondexter are all established veterans who have made their name in the game. But of all the young players to play for the Grit ‘n’ Grind Grizzlies in recent years, only one earned “Grindfather” Tony Allen’s blessing as “The Grindson”: Jamaal Franklin.
Franklin, who did it all as a collegian at San Diego St., couldn’t have landed in a better spot. With Allen as a mentor—the Grindfather has already mentioned taking our boy under his wing during preseason—Franklin will see how to harness relentless energy at both ends of the floor, to go along with his strong overall game. And that’s the thing: although he’s a rookie, Franklin has more natural ability than Allen. Could there be a battle for those pressure minutes as the season plays out?
Jamaal is the Grindson for a reason; he’s already known for his tenacity and work ethic, so he may not be learning from his mentor for long. Come playoff time, maybe they’ll be more like Grindbrothers.
Scouts have a phrase for Jamaal Franklin: he’s a “jack of all trades.” Too often they follow that up with, “…and master of none”—but Franklin is out to show that, in a league full of specialists, there’s room for an energy guy who does a little bit of everything.
Take Franklin’s game last Sunday. A line of 4 points, 3 board, 5 dimes, a block and a steal might not do much for you … but all that in just 12 minutes? That’s crazy production. The game before that, he nearly had a double-double in just 23 minutes, and threw up another 4 assists. And that’s not to mention his defense; watch Franklin once and you know, preseason or not, he doesn’t take a play off. Coach Hollins has certainly taken notice, as Jamaal notched 20 minutes, 10 points and 6 Rebs in a win against the Hawks over the weekend.
Franklin’s Grizzlies have become a force in the Western Conference without a true superstar. They did it on hustle and hard work. Jamaal is gonna fit right in.