The New Orleans Pelicans lost another key piece this weekend, as Lance Stephenson will have surgery to repair his groin.
The fun of Lance Stephenson playing basketball for the New Orleans Pelicans will be put on hold.
Lance will miss an indefinite amount of time with a groin injury, suffered in the game Friday against the Phoenix Suns. This injury will require surgery and the timetable for his return is still undecided.
It had been a great start to the season for Lance. In six games, Stephenson has averaged 9.7 points, 4.8 assists and 3.3 rebounds in his 27 minutes per game. He even ran the offense for the bench unit for a majority of the time.
His aggression towards the basket and fearlessness on defense made the bench the cornerstone of the Pelicans early season. While many of the players off the bench get criticism for passive play, Stephenson went all in every game.
The Pels’ lack of Lance will bring new problems to their depth. For one, it could be on Langston Galloway to become the new floor general of the bench. It’s not something he has great experience in or has shown he can do well so far.
This injury also highlights the lack of another playmaker. This goes even farther than the bench, as Tim Frazier and Anthony Davisare the only other Pelicans that have shown to set up their teammates effectively.
Lance gives the offense life by moving the ball and keeping defenses on their toes. Because of his injury, the team will need to find a way to open up space.
The answer to that might come in Free Agency, as the Pelicans may looking to get a hardship exception around November 10th. It is extremely early into the season for an NBA hard exception. However, New Orleans has once again come under fire of the NBA injury bug.
What is on the market is very scarce for playmaker potential. At this point, it may be smarter for the Pelicans to try a development project, with their 0-6 record. Or, the team could try to find a veteran wing, who can make things happen for the others off the bench.
No matter what, the absence of Lance Stephenson is a big blow for the Pelicans. This is a player who surprised many with how big a role player he still can be on an NBA team. He kept New Orleans in a few games they had no business being in and gave life to a slow and ineffective offense.
The New Orleans Pelicans will be without Lance for some time, as his injury adds to the list of key players stuck to the bench seats. More than anything, Lance is a fun player fans turn the TV on to see play. While it is not pretty by any means, his energy is the energy of the entire team. In a season that’s already sucked the life out of many wearing Pelicans gear, losing Stephenson is a devastating situation for this extended period of time.