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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Lance Stephenson becoming a problem with the Hornets?


Lance Stephenson has a very large personality. The Charlotte Hornets knew that when they signed him, but are they still having issues with the 24-year-old shooting guard?

After benching Stephenson for the fourth quarter in consecutive games, Hornets coach Steve Clifford said Stephenson is “not a star” and that he believes the former second-round pick is struggling to live up to expectations.

“To be fair, one of the things that’s made it more difficult for him is that he came here and people proclaimed him as the next superstar,” Clifford said after Wednesday’s 105-97 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. “He’s not a star. He’s a guy that has talent to become a star. To be a star in this league, you have to do it over years.”

[Related: Lance Stephenson slaps himself on flop (Video)]

Stephenson was benched on Wednesday after he missed his first two shots of the third quarter. He had eight points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in 23 minutes prior to that, but he did not return. After a stretch in which he played 30 or more minutes in nine of 10 games, Stephenson played just 28 minutes on Monday and 23 on Wednesday.

The Hornets are off to a 4-12 start, and Clifford clearly isn’t thrilled with his big free agent acquisition. According to Bill Reiter of Fox Sports, some consider Stephenson to be part of the problem rather than the solution.

As Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk noted, the Stephenson criticism sounds like a smear campaign. It could have easily come from someone within the Indiana Pacers organization who contributed to the decision to not bring Stephenson back.

In any event, Stephenson’s game is not where Clifford and the Hornets expected it to be at the moment.

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