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Another day of the NBA offseason has come and gone, and yet another player has received a healthy sum of money. Guard Lance Stephenson traded in his Indiana Pacers uniform for Charlotte Hornets attire as he signed a three-year $27 million contract with the team Tuesday.
The contract, which also has a team option for a fourth year ends Stephenson's productive but wildly unpredictable four -year stay with the Pacers. He had a career year last year as he set career-highs in points per game ( 13.8), minutes per game (35.3), field goal percentage (49.1), three-point field goal percentage ( 35.2), rebounds per game (7.2), and assists per game (4.6). Indiana gave the Miami Heat a run for their money in the Eastern Conference Finals, but could not match the firepower of Miami's Big Three, losing the series four games to two.
Does Stephenson's contract length and salary amount sound familiar to you? That's because it is very similar to guard Avery Bradley's four-year $32 million deal (give or take a year and $5 million.)
Bradley played in 60 games starting 58 of them , the 60 games played being the most for him since the 2011-12 campaign and the 58 starts a career-high. He tallied 14.9 points and snared 3.8 rebounds per game, three of them being of the defensive variety. Those were career-highs for him, and his points per game outnumbered Stephenson's.
However, let's take a look at some other categories as well as the ones mentioned above, Keep in mind, I am just looking at this from a numbers standpoint.
Games played: Stephenson (78) Bradley: (60)
Games started Stephenson: (78) Bradley: (58)
Minutes per game: Stephenson (35.3) Bradley (30.9)
Field goal percentage: Stephenson (.491) Bradley (.438)
Three-point field goal percentage: Bradley (.395) Stephenson (.352)
Offensive rebounds: Stephenson ( 1.2) Bradley (0.8)
Defensive rebounds: Stephenson (5.9) Bradley (3.0)
Total rebounds: Stephenson ( 7.2) Bradley (3.8)
Steals: Bradley (1.1) Stephenson ( 0.7)
It appears that Stephenson has the overwhelming edge here. Now, something that cannot be quantified numerically is how well Bradley complements Rajon Rondo. Together, they form a nice one-two punch and Bradley himself provides a spark off the bench. He has shown that he posses scoring ability and has a sweet jumper that he can knock down with relative ease.
Defensively, he can also hold his own, and his quick instincts have allowed him to become a very good on-ball defender.
The Verdict: Stephenson wins this one
I really enjoy watching Avery Bradley play, and he is a very good basketball player, but on the same token, why did Danny Ainge not sign the free-agent Stephenson? He is coming off a career year and his tough persona on the court may have benefited the Celtics. I realize that his antics may have gotten old, but he would bring a swagger to this basketball team. His toughness would be an asset too, and he would bring a positive contribution to the Celtics, especially when you take a look at his numbers.
I give Danny Ainge a lot of credit for what he has done in his tenure as general manager, but he really, really missed the boat on this one.