Lance Stephenson says he's a good locker room guy

Lance Stephenson says he's a good locker room guy
Meet Lance Stephenson, the Clippers' newest addition. (Los Angeles Times)

When Lance Stephenson was formally introduced as a Clipper on Thursday at the team's practice facility, he wanted to make one thing very clear -- the rumors that he's a difficult locker room guy are not true.

"First of all, I'm going to work hard on getting them rumors out because that's not the issue," Stephenson said. "I've been good in the locker room. You can ask all the players I've played with, you can ask the coaches. I'm very good in the locker room.


"When I'm in the court, I've got that type of energy where it looks like I'm yelling at somebody, but I feel like when I talk to my teammates, it amps them and makes them work harder. So I want to take that title off my name because that's not me; I'm a good locker room guy."

Stephenson, who was traded from the Charlotte Hornets to the Clippers on Monday in exchange for Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes, said that when he first found out he was going to be a Clipper, he could hardly control his excitement.

"I started yelling, "Yeah, I'm happy!" Stephenson said. "I'm just ready for a great season."

He needs one after last season, when he averaged 8.2 points on 32.5% shooting, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 25.8 minutes per game with the Hornets. He also shot a woeful 17.1% from beyond the three-point line.

"It was a struggle for me and I just want to put that behind me," Stephenson said of his stint with the Hornets.

Before playing with the Hornets, he helped the Indiana Pacers advance to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2014 by averaging 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists, while shooting 35% from beyond the three-point line.

When Clippers Coach Doc Rivers was asked if signing Stephenson was a bit of a risk for the Clippers considering his inconsistent play, Rivers said that taking all things into consideration, he thinks the deal was a good move.

"Lance has proven what he can do, and he's also proven that he can have a tough year like any of us can have," Rivers said.

Rivers said that he likes Stephenson's defensive skills and his ability to play three positions -- point guard, shooting guard and small forward.

"I think offensively, with his ball handling ability, his ability to play in the open court and his power, I think it fits our team very well," Rivers said.

Stephenson, 24, said he wants to do anything he can to help the team. When asked what he thinks he can contribute, he didn't hesitate.

"Energy, excitement -- we've already got excitement -- but toughness, that defensive passion, just wanting to win," Stephenson said. "I feel like last year they weren't as tough. They needed that guy to get them angry and get everybody mad and get other people scared. I feel like I could add on to that."