The latest from the Eastern Conference..
- Keeping Lance Stephenson will be an expensive problem for the Pacers, writes Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM. Still only 23, he’s already a better shooter than Dwyane Wade, a better defender than James Harden and a better passer than Paul George. Stephenson may not have gaudy numbers, but he’ll be worth more to a franchise without established stars, one who can make him the primary option on the first team.
- Raptors guard Kyle Lowry is growing as a player and a person this season, writes HoopsWorld’s Alex Kennedy. “Kyle’s approach has been exceptional,” said trainer Joe Abunassar of Impact Basketball. “I think that has really translated to helping his game. He has been focused and he understands what being a top player in the NBA takes. It’s more than just basketball – it’s how he’s carrying himself and working.” As he shines in Toronto, Lowry has seen his name pop up in trade rumors all year long. He was very close to joining the Knicks, but those trade talks are apparently dead now.
- John Salmons is having a huge impact on the Raptors, writes Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun. Toronto fans may not have had a great impression of the forward back in 2006 when he backed away from a verbal agreement to sign with the Raptors because – according to him – god told him not to go there. Meanwhile, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun recently reported that Salmons was a prime candidate to be traded.