Originally posted on NBA 24/7 365  |  Last updated 1/10/12

I believe Lance Stephenson calls himself “Born Ready?”  How come every time I watch this guy play with the Pacers he doesn’t look ready for anything?  I want to root for him because he’s a fairly athletic guard with flashy handles influenced by the New York streets, but it’s hard to back a guy who’s shooting 7.1% from the field.  Like, how am I supposed to make a case for this man to get more minutes?  His fraction of an assist to 1 turnover?  His ZERO percent three-point shooting?  Aside from perfect freethrowing on just a couple of attempts, this guy might have the ugliest statistics over six games and nine minutes per that I’ve ever seen in my life.  I guess the good news for Lance is that I don’t have to make a case at all.  Despite the lackluster (I’m feeling kind) numbers, head coach Frank Vogel is a believer.  Via Fox Sports Midwest…

“We’re committed (to Stephenson). That kid is a talented kid. He’s going to be a tremendous weapon for us at some point. He’s still got to get his feet wet. He saw virtually no time last year, so he’s essentially a rookie from an experience standpoint. I’m very committed to seeing him develop and looking forward to him taking advantage of his skills when he starts to come around.”

Lance doesn’t need your silly commitment, Frank!  This man was born ready!…to tool on high school kids.  On a serious note, hopefully this has been a humbling experience for the young man.  If you followed him at all while he was in high school you’re well aware that a humbling experience was very necessary.  Another year in college may also have served him well, but it’s too late for that.  He’s lucky to have a “player’s coach” who seems willing to be quite patient with him.

Thaddeus Young had 12 points and 8 rebounds as the Sixers beat the Granger-less Pacers 96-86.  This may not seem like a line, or a game, worth talking about, but Young’s impact was much greater than his routine numbers would suggest.  The energy he brought to this contest was something you rarely see from a guy with any talent… he was like Ryan Bowen with basketball skills out there.  Every time his man inbounded the ball, he denied the pass to the point guard.  He took at least four charges, and should’ve been credited with a pair of blocked shots.  He came up with two steals and relentlessly ran the floor.  Although Sixer fans have been telling me he doesn’t shoot the ball well, this is a guy who I feel has pretty solid offensive skills.  Rather than mope about his lack of involvement in the offense he finds other ways to contribute.  The Sixers are one of the better superstar-less teams in the league, and players like Thad make that possible.  I’ve been impressed by the team effort they bring on a nightly basis despite some rather poor competition so far. 

Carl Landry came off the Hornets bench and scored 21 points on 8-15.  Seven players, including Rudy Fernandez, Andre Miller, and Al Harrington, came off the bench for Denver and combined for 25 points on 11-29.  Needless to say, New Orleans pulled off a 94-81 upset in the Mile High City, where folks probably don’t even care at this point because they’re all wrapped up in Tebow mania.  Anyway, you gotta love Carl Landry.  No matter where he goes or how he’s utilized, he just goes out there, works hard, and typically gets the job done.  His efforts against the Nuggets helped the Hornets snap a six-game losing streak.  Shout out to Squeaky Johnson, a former D-Leaguer who played a solid floor game and has the coolest name since Smush Parker.

Tyson Chandler didn’t get to visit the White House with his former Maverick teammates because he had to play center for the Knicks last night.  He says he’s “a little disappointed” about how the cookie crumbled… probably because he knows he’ll never be doing such a thing with his New York teammates.  The Knicks were able to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 91-87, but they’ve got Amare Stoudemire out there going 0-2 from three-point land as he scores 25 on 25 shots.  Everyone’s entitled to a bad game, obviously, but this is developing into an awfully rough season for STAT… and all the Pringles man can think about is turning him into a three-point shooter (1.4 attempts per game this season). 

“I don’t want him to hang out there all the time, but there are times that he, like Dirk Nowitzki and all those guys, can step back and take one, yeah. That’s what Kevin Durant does. Why can’t Amare do it? They’re about the same size. Again, it’s just finding the niche and finding the blend between [Melo and Amare].”

That quote is a few weeks old, but the age doesn’t really make it any less disturbing.  That’s what Kevin Durant does?  I… fail to see what he’s even getting at. 

Unfortunately, Eric Maynor’s knee injury is as bad as it looked.  He’ll miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.  Rookie point guard Reggie Jackson will be asked to step up in his absense.  Reggie’s job will essentially be to maintain possession of the ball and get it to Kevin Durant.  He may be asked to knock down a wide open look from time to time, but he won’t be heavily relied upon to create a lot of offense.  If he can play 15 minutes of steady, basic, error-free basketball every night this won’t hurt the Thunder too much. 

Scalabrine sighting…

Highlight Recap: I’d rather see Amare doing this than shooting threes.  Tyson Chandler with a 15-million-dollar dunk.  Derrick Rose damn near blew this uncontested dunk.  Al-Farouq Aminu instructs Nene to take his weak stuff elsewhere.  Derrick Williams didn’t need an assist on this play.  Excellent end-to-end play by the Bobcats resulting in a Gerald Henderson poster slam.  Nene spikes a Jarrett Jack attempt.

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