The Golden State Warriors have quite a few roster spots to fill this offseason. Five, to be specific. And with that many spaces available, you can bet they’re looking at every available free agent.
The 2018 crop of free agents keeps expanding, as players opt-out of contracts, and teams decline options. One such new free agent is Lance Stephenson, who had his option declined by the Indiana Pacers.
The Indiana Pacers are declining Lance Stephenson’s $4.3M team option and he’ll be a free agent, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 25, 2018
So, would the Warriors be interested in Stephenson, who has one of the league’s wildest personalities and playing styles, and seems to have made it his life mission to get under the skin of LeBron James? Anthony Slater sure thinks so.
Lance Stephenson...not a bad fit for what the Warriors need (wings with multi-positional defensive ability and high energy — psychotic in Lance’s case — that’ll juice up dull regular season) https://t.co/xhRrKMdWcO— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) June 25, 2018
While Stephenson does bring those qualities that the Warriors seek, I’d argue that the fit is pretty bad. For starters, Stephenson is a poor three-point shooter, as he made just 28.9% of his attempts last year, and is a career 30.3% shooter from deep. If the Warriors want long perimeter players who can’t extend the floor, well, good news! They’ve already got Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, and Patrick McCaw seems likely to return.
But more important is the grim reality of Stephenson: He’s simply not good anymore. While his per-game stats are decent, Stephenson plays out of control, scores the ball with horrendous efficiency, and is a very bad defensive player.
The framework for a quality player is there - he’s long, athletic, versatile, and energetic - but the impact and value simply aren’t there. Or, more accurately, they are there, just in a negative way.
If Golden State thinks they can strip that away and build Stephenson back as a good player, then he’d be a cool project. But that seems like wishful thinking.