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Lance Stephenson Selected by Nuggets' Affiliate in 2021 NBA G League Draft

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVOctober 23, 2021

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Veteran NBA guard Lance Stephenson was selected 13th overall by the Grand Rapids Gold in the first round of the 2021 NBA G League draft on Saturday.

The Gold are the G League affiliate of the Denver Nuggets, and they are set to give Stephenson an opportunity to earn his way back into the NBA.

Stephenson, 31, is a nine-year NBA vet who has played for the Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers.

Several notable players were selected in the first round of Saturday's draft, including fellow NBA veteran guard Brandon Knight, Dwyane Wade's son Zaire Wade, and LiAngelo Ball, who is the brother of NBA guards Lonzo and LaMelo Ball.

Stephenson was a unique pick in that he has 508 NBA regular-season games and 57 NBA playoff games to his credit.

He most recently played in the NBA in 2018-19, when he averaged 7.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 three-pointers made while shooting 42.6 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc in 68 games for the Lakers.

Stephenson is best known for his initial stint with the Pacers from 2010 to 2014. He enjoyed the best season of his career in 2013-14 when he averaged a career-high 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists.

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The Pacers reached the Eastern Conference Finals in both 2013 and 2014, falling to the Miami Heat both times. Stephenson was primarily tasked with guarding then-Heat star LeBron James in both series.

Overall, Stephenson owns averages of 8.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists during the regular season, and 11.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists during the postseason.

Since last playing in the NBA, Stephenson spent time with the Liaoning Flying Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association, averaging an impressive 26.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in 29 contests in 2019-20.

The Nuggets have reached the playoffs in each of the past three seasons, and if they are once again contenders in the Western Conference this season, Stephenson could be a nice depth addition to the roster if he can earn a call-up from the G League.

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