Lance Stephenson, who recently signed with the Pelicans, sat down with Justin Verrier of ESPN.com to discuss a number of topics, included how the swingman believes he has changed over the past few years. “When you come into the NBA as a youngster, you got babied all your life,” Stephenson said. “Everybody from when you were younger saying, ‘You’re gonna be in the NBA. You’re this and that.’ But once you get in the NBA, there are a lot of guys similar to you, so you have to learn how to do different things to keep developing. So you’ve got to put in the hard work and learn from other guys, see how they work out. Really, I feel like all the stuff I’ve been through has made me a better player. I feel like God puts you in situations to help you succeed in the long run.”
When asked why he chose to join New Orleans, Stephenson told Verrier, “I liked this team, and I see a couple young guys that I could potentially help and show all the other stuff that I learned from other places, from guys like Chris Paul, Paul George, Paul Pierce. Just teach them, and help them believe and show them the right way to work out there and what it takes to make it to the conference finals, and getting that work in every day.”
Here’s more from New Orleans:
- Pelicans GM Dell Demps told Verrier (Twitter link) that there is no timetable for Jrue Holiday to return to the team, but he’ll be welcomed back with “open arms” when he does. The point guard has taken a leave of absence to help care for his ailing wife and their newborn child.
- Demps confirmed to Verrier (via Twitter) that Tyreke Evans won’t be available to play until at least December. The exact timetable should become clearer within the next two-to-four weeks, Verrier adds. Evans is still recovering from the two surgeries on his right knee he underwent last season.
- Evans isn’t the only ailing Pelican, with Quincy Pondexter also not likely to be available until December at the earliest, though, the forward could potentially be sidelined until January, journalist Guerry Smith tweets. Pondexter underwent cartilage replacement surgery on his left knee back in January.
- Solomon Hill, who signed a four-year, $48MM deal with the Pelicans in July, understands more will be asked of him this season, writes Scott Kushner of The New Orleans Advocate. “I wouldn’t say the actual role is so much different,” Hill said. “But the level where I need to be for this team is definitely different.”
- Chris Copeland nearly joined the Pelicans three seasons ago, but he landed in Indiana instead, the forward told Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com. The 32-year-old is excited that he is now in New Orleans after signing with the team this week, the scribe relays. “I’ve thought I was coming here a few times before this,” Copeland said. “For whatever reason, it didn’t pan out. I’m just glad it actually came full circle and I get the opportunity to try again this year. It’s a great city. I tell people time and time again, it has some of the best food in the world, and the atmosphere here is special.”