When the All-Star Game reserves were announced on Thursday, Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson was not named to the Eastern Conference squad. Apparently the fourth-year player was not too happy about it.
"I'm mad," Stephenson said, per Michael Pointer of The Indianapolis Star. "I feel like I had my breakout year last year. I showed I can play with anyone on the floor and I felt like this year, I brought a little bit more to my game.
Update: Saturday, February 1 at 3:05 p.m. ET
Stephenson told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News that he's going to "kill" those in front of him.
I already had a chip on my shoulder and it made me even worse. Now I’m going to kill everybody who is in front of me. Like I said, whoever made it in front of me or whoever is in my position who people think whose in front of me, I’m definitely going to go after them.
--End of update--
"But other people saw it differently. I'm just going to keep working hard and prove everyone wrong."
The 23-year-old is averaging 14.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists. He's one of only two NBA players currently boasting those averages, with Kevin Durant being the other. That's not bad company, to say the least.
Many people affiliated with the Pacers can feel Stephenson's pain, including head coach Frank Vogel.
"It's hard," Vogel said, also via The Indianapolis Star. "It's something he deserved and he wanted it, so it's tough. You just do what you can. You squeeze him, you hug him a little tighter and make sure he understands how important he is to us."
Although Stephenson certainly has a case to play in New Orleans over Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson, there is another roadblock. As Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski noted, Kyle Lowry was ahead of Stephenson in the voting, so even if Johnson wasn't on the team, Lowry would be next in line.
Brooklyn's Joe Johnson over Toronto's Kyle Lowry was the closest vote among the Eastern coaches, league source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 31, 2014
Better luck next year, Lance. Your consolation prize is likely to be a trip to at least the Eastern Conference Finals, which Lowry and Johnson won't be able to boast come season's end.
Unless noted otherwise, all stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.
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