It’s sports ultimate balancing act-and no one is on the beam more these days than the Indiana Pacers.
There is the need to balance the talent of the athlete with the potential of incidents off the court. Generally, the more talent, the more patience, but that line can be blurred.
When something does occur beyond the rhelm of the game, then a team must weight the option of cutting ties with the player or showing faith in future improvement.
Hence is the situation with Pacers rookie guard Lance Stephenson, who on August 15th was arrested for allegedly pushing his girlfriend down the stairs of a Brooklyn apartment building. He was charged with second degree assault, third degree assault, harrassment and menacing.
On Monday he’s was taking pictures at the Pacers Media Day, with hopes of getting things together in more ways than one.
“Just try to be a better person on and off the court,” said Stephenson in his first comments to Indianapolis media since the incident. “Trying to move forward and trying to stay focused.”
The same could be said for forward Brandon Rush, who had some trouble of his own come up later in August. The third year player was suspended for the first five games for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.
Rush, like Stephenson, also vowed to improve his conduct off the court while trying to find a consistency that has been missing in his game since joining the team in 2008.
“I’m making a lot of changes in my life, I’m moving away from people I used to kick it with all the time and just get my mind right,” said Rush. “I only get one shot at this and I know I messed up pretty bad and its time to move on from this.”
That will happen for Rush once the fifth game of the season passes, for Stephenson it could be a little different. His court date for the incident is scheduled for October 19th, which will loom over him for most of the preseason as he competes for a spot on the final roster.
“Just try to go day-by-day,” said Stephenson of practicing with the team as a date in court sits in his future. “Just try to be to myself and try to move forward.”
Doing so might have been easier had that incident never happened, according to head coach Jim O’Brien, who saw great potential for the guard during NBA summer league games in July.
“To say anything other than that would be misleading,” said O’Brien when talking about how the incident hindered his development progress. “That being said, I think he is a talent that is at a level that people will be very, very surprised at.”
according to fox59.com