I'm a big believer in tapping potential, and I always seem to think I know how it should be done. Those of you who have read my previous posts will probably have picked up on this. It all started with Jordan. You see, I came too late to the NBA to see him in his prime, and after reading a biography in 10th grade I've felt robbed. Since then, I look at every 6-6 phenom with hungry eyes, longing for the Jordan for my generation. And yeah, they have to be a 6-6 SG. A point guard's first responsibility is getting his team involved, so John Wall isn't going to cut it. But perhaps his SLAM magazine running mate Lance Stephenson could. Now, don't get me wrong, the dude has dropped out of the first round after declaring too soon, but that could be the perfect situation for him.
Now, I'm sure some of you are thinking, what about Kobe? Well, I was too young for him too, but I do love seeing him do ridiculous things with a basketball nonetheless. But his time is fading, and I'm only young so I need something to sustain me! Before I even go into LeBron, the first problem is he doesn't play SG. The second is that he is just a brute. Yes he has the talent to go with his athleticism which separate him from people like Josh Smith, but something about him doesn't sit well with me.
This is where Born Ready comes in. You know how I mentioned Kobe? Well he is a big part of this too. You see, the Lakers aren't getting no lottery picks anytime soon, and Kobe can only survive so long with Shannon Brown as his backup. The Lakers have expectations, and they've pretty much always had a player considered amongst the best in the league on their side. Now, the Lakers won't likely get Stephenson with the pick they have, but they should lie, cheat or steal to get him. Lance has said he needs to work on his game, and what better role for Kobe to play than mentor for a mercurial talent like Born Ready. They've both had off-court dramas so Kobe knows where Lance is coming from with that whole assault charge deal, and if anyone can teach Lance to focus on the game it is Bryant. Sure, Lance wouldn't get many minutes while Kobe is still around, but a few years learning from the Black Mamba would do him a world of good. And if Phil Jackson doesn't jump ship, well, he certainly knows a thing or two about coaching the 2-guard position.
But wait, there is another huge reason why Stephenson would be a fit in L.A. Bynum. Bynum is the true heir to Shaq, whether Dwight likes it or not. Bynum plays like a real centre, with force and dominance on the offensive end, and while he might not be a two-time DPOY, I would argue that he holds his own against opposing centres better than Howard, who does his best work on help defense. If he could just get healthy, Bynum and Lance could emulate Kobe and Shaq circa 2000.
Lance has the sheer hard-nosed aggression to drive at a championship if his four state champs are anything to go by, and now that he has fallen from grace, he won't be concerned with being the "nice guy" like LeBron so he can focus on just playing the damn game, and what's more, people in L.A. don't much care what you do off the court as long as you win. He has handled the pressures of fame better than most in his remarkable HS career.
Despite his upside, he is a gamble. But when the gains are this high, and a second-round pick is the price, why not just roll the dice on the future?