Fratello’s Fantasy Pick

Indiana Pacers v Cleveland CavaliersRough and rugged, fourth-year guard Lance Stephenson emerged last season as one of the Indiana Pacers’ key players.

The 23-year-old Brooklyn native started 72 games for coach Frank Vogel last year as the Pacers went all the way to Game 7 of the ECF against eventual champs Miami.

Stephenson aka Born Ready was an early bloomer. The Lincoln High alum won NYC basketball championships in each of his four years of high school and is New York State’s all-time leading scorer.

After playing one season of collegiate ball at Cincinnati, he was selected 40th overall by Indiana in the 2010 NBA Draft. 6’5” Stephenson played in only 54 games for the Pacers over his first two seasons. Last year in 29.2 mpg, he averaged 8.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 2.9 apg.

In the Pacers’ first ten games so far this season, Stephenson is averaging 33.8 mpg (2nd on the team behind Paul George), 13.7 ppg (2nd on the team), 5.2 rpg, and he leads the team with 5 apg. He has scored in double figures in 9 of the 10 contests and on November 11th recorded his first career triple-double.

Stephenson has season-highs so far of 22 points, 12 dimes, 11 boards and 41 minutes of floor time. He is capable of guarding the other team’s best perimeter player and is not afraid of the big shot or making plays in crunch time. Stephenson has been under an intense national spotlight since the 8th grade and has dealt with the constant attention and scrutiny that accompanies a NYC scholastic basketball legend.

Stephenson plays on an extremely balanced, talented Pacers team and seems to have secured his spot in the first five. He can give any Fantasy GM an above average stat line every night. So add Lance Stephenson to your Fantasy roster ASAP. He is just beginning to scratch the surface of showing the premier player he’ll become.

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