The Timberwolves have had an open roster spot for some time, and with Zach LaVine out for the season and a fairly thin bench, Minnesota has finally made their move.
Tom Thibodeau will have the intriguing Lance Stephenson at his disposal in short order, as the seventh-year guard will reportedly sign a 10-day contract. (Although Thibs won’t acknowledge that it’s a done deal as of yet.) Stephenson most recently played in six games with New Orleans this fall prior to undergoing groin surgery and subsequently being released by the Pelicans.
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A fast take on this signing: why not?
Sure, Stephenson has been brutal ever since leaving the Indiana Pacers after the 2013-14 season. He’s also a below-average three-point shooter and has had his share of off-court issues. And he is best with the ball in his hands as a play-maker.
But the possibility that Stephenson could return to his 2012-14 form — however slim that might be — is tantalizing enough that it’s certainly worth taking the tiny leap of a 10-day contract.
After all, Stephenson nearly made the All-Star team in 2014 when he started 78 games as a 23 year-old for a Pacers team that lost in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals to LeBron James‘ Miami Heat. Not only was he capable of guarding three positions and serving as an alternate ball-handler for Indiana, but he even managed to shoot threes at a 35.2 percent clip while attempting more than a quarter of his shots from behind the arc.
We’ll dive a bit more into this signing and how how Stephenson will fit into the Wolves’ rotation and into an offense that has three to four key players who are extremely ball-dominant.
In the meantime, let’s acknowledge that this is the most intriguing free agent addition that the Timberwolves have made since…Mike James?