Lance Stephenson ready to come off the bench for the Pacers

Lance Stephenson is OK with playing off the Pacers' bench next season. AP Photo.

Lance Stephenson is OK with playing off the Pacers’ bench next season. AP Photo.

The 2012-13 season was a big one for Lance Stephenson‘s career. He averaged 10.9 points with 4.8 rebounds per 36 minutes, but more importantly he started 72 games plus all 19 of the Pacers’ playoff games last year. He was a key part of the team.

This season is already starting off quite differently for him as the Pacers have made some additions and they’ll also be getting back a healthy Danny Granger. That means that Stephenson may have to come off the bench, a move that he’s more than willing to make if it makes the team better.

“I’m just coming in to play hard,” Stephenson told Michael Pointer of “Whatever coach (Frank Vogel) decides to do, I think it’s a great decision. Me coming off the bench, Danny coming off the bench, either way, we’re deep. Whatever helps the team, that’s what I want to do.”

Stephenson also talked about how his improved jump shot and defensive determination spurred his breakout season. He’s on board with the direction the team is going in though and is excited to have Larry Bird back running the team.

“(Bird) makes great decisions,” he said. “He picked up great players. Just having him be there as a leader and someone that motivates you, it helps my game a lot. Having him come back is a plus for the Pacers.”

Aside from the Miami Heat, the Pacers are expected to be Brooklyn’s biggest rival in the Eastern Conference. Stephenson was a big part of their success last year and it sounds like he’s got the right attitude to continue helping the team. If he’s their sixth, or even seventh, man off the bench, they’re in pretty good shape.

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