Most Disappointing Player: Lance Stephenson (& why we should have seen this coming)

Dis­ap­point­ment is always rel­a­tive to expec­ta­tion. Expec­ta­tion is a prod­uct of rep­u­ta­tion and oppor­tu­nity. Rep­u­ta­tion often lags behind the actual on-court per­for­mance of a player. A great oppor­tu­nity is some­times the wrong one. And when every­thing mis-aligns, we get the Most Dis­ap­point­ing Player.

Some­times you have to slap your­self to wake up from a bad dream. That would be the only real expla­na­tion for what Lance was doing in this Video.

Every­thing was aligned per­fectly for this to be a break­through sea­son for Lance Stephen­son (but also pos­si­bly for him to fail):

  • Lance was con­sid­ered to have been a pos­si­ble All-Star last sea­son (of course his league aver­age PER, late sea­son regres­sion and infa­mous play­off antics did raise a few red flags)
  • He had been brought in by Michael Jor­dan to be the miss­ing star that would pro­pell his Char­lotte Hor­nets fran­chise and take it from bor­der­line play­off team to fringe contender.
  • He had signed his first big NBA con­tract (a BIG red flag, spe­cially since post con­tract year drop offs are actu­ally quite com­mon — it’s hard to stay moti­vated after get­ting guar­an­teed money, mak­ing rap videos is more fun…)

The hype had never been like this since Lance’s famous high school days when he graced mag­a­zine cov­ers as the next NBA superstar.

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But here’s how Lance Responded.

He regressed in pretty much every mea­sur­able met­ric, was demoted from to the bench with his coach openly say­ing Lance Stephen­son was “not a star yet”.

This play from his first NBA game with the Hor­nets was pretty much a sum­mary of this season.

Born Ready’ wasn’t even born when Chuck D warned us not to believe the hype — maybe that’s why he missed the memo…

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Dev Kabir Malik has a clinically alarming dependence on basketball and spends most of his time watching, analyzing, writing and even playing a little pickup (and some 2K too). In the little time he has left, he dabbles with design, art & music.