Alex Brandon/Associated Press
If you’re looking for perfect example for how teams should approach the second round, Indiana’s 2010 selection of Lance Stephenson—a New York City legend and University of Cincinnati product as renowned for his game as he was infamous for his off-the-court troubles—would certainly be up there.
In his excellent examination of the relationship between Stephenson and Pacers president Larry Bird, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski recounts how the mercurial shooting guard wound up falling into Indiana’s lap:
With the 10th overall pick, Indiana selected a future All-Star – George. For the rest of the night, the Pacers were offering $2 million to purchase a pick to move into the late first round. They desperately wanted Stephenson, but felt convinced he'd never be there for them in the second round. When the Knicks had the 38th and 39th picks, the Pacers believed they would use one of those picks on the wildly talented kid out of Lincoln High School in one of the city's boroughs – only the Knicks selected Andy Rautins and Landry Fields. At No. 40, the Pacers executives cheered: Somehow, a lottery-level talent had dropped to them.
Four years later, Stephenson’s reputation as a loose cannon hasn’t exactly been buried. His antics in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals prove as much.
On the court, however, has been a much happier story. Following two straight breakout seasons, Stephenson is poised to enter the 2014 free-agency period as one of the hottest commodities on the market—and one of the riskiest, to be sure.
Were Stephenson’s shenanigans enough to prevent the Pacers from matching an offer for his services? We’ll soon find out.
But even if Born Ready rears his hot head under some other name, he’s already done more than enough to convince every team that, when it comes to where a particular player gets plucked, the round ain't nothing but a number.