Jan 25, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson (1) drives to the basket past Denver Nuggets guard Evan Fournier (94) and center Timofey Mozgov (25) during the first half at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte Hornets: Expectations For Lance Stephenson

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The Charlotte Hornets signed shooting guard Lance Stephenson to a three-year, $27 million deal this offseason and they are extremely excited about his future with them. He will immediately slide into the starting shooting guard spot, and will play alongside Kemba Walker in the backcourt.

There are quite a few that think he will fit perfectly with the current roster that Charlotte has, but there are others that don’t believe he will fit well without having the ball in his hands as much as he did in Indiana.

With that being said, what can the Hornets expect from Stephenson in 2014?

First of all, there are some ways that Stephenson will help out immediately without question. One of those areas would be playmaking, and he will be even more dangerous with Walker, and having a competent big man in Al Jefferson.

Stephenson set Roy Hibbert up quite often last season, but those plays didn’t get finished consistently. Despite how badly the Pacers’ offense was last season, Stephenson ended up averaging 4.6 assists per game.

Stephenson has been one of the NBA’s best and most exciting playmakers over the last year and a half, and ended up leading the NBA with five triple-doubles last season. The Hornets were in need of another playmaker last season, and he will be their answer.

It will be interesting to see how Charlotte uses him this season with Walker already as the main playmaker, but he should be able to fit right in.

Secondly, the Hornets were in major need of another scorer and it showed badly against the Miami Heat in their playoff series. He averaged 13.8 points per game last season, and improved every single shooting percentage that he had.

Stephenson isn’t going to be a knock-down 3-point shooter, but he has the potential to put up 16 or more each and every night when asked.

Rebounding is another area that Stephenson can bring to the shooting guard spot, and he averaged 7.2 per game last year. That number was among the best in the league, and he has been considered one of the best guard rebounders in the game since he took over for Danny Granger in 2012.

He will have to contend with Jefferson on the boards, but he will still pull down his fair share.

There have been quite a few concerns about Stephenson’ on-the-court antics, and he has a history of being an issue off-the-court at some point as well. While those concerns are legitimate, they are also a bit overstated simply because he chose to irritate LeBron James.

If it had been any other player, the media wouldn’t have paid it much attention.

When everything is said and done, this move is going to be one of the best of the offseason. Stephenson is one of the best young players in the game, and he will take the next step in his career this season.

At just 23 years of age, he still has plenty of room to grow, and the Hornets are going to have him throughout three of the most productive seasons of his career. Don’t be surprised to see him take his averages much higher and help take the Hornets back to the playoffs and be a problem for the Eastern Conference.

Those concerns that were mentioned are not something that will be an issue with the Hornets, and they are happy to have his attitude and competitive attitude on the team. He will be given the green light to play his game, and will be asked to shoulder a heavy load.

This is going to be a big season for Stephenson, and Hornets fans should be extremely excited about him.

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