Lance Stephenson is 25 years old. There was a pattern of improvement from 11-12 (21 years old) to 13-14 (23 years old), which makes sense for a young player. Purely production wise, based on what we've seen from many years of the NBA and many players, 14-15 was likely an outlier poor season. 13-14 could be an outlier season too, but that depends on the rate of production we see this season. If 13-14 is an outlier, then his true baseline rate of production would most likely lie somewhere between 12-13's and 13-14's production.
So if that is the case, then Lance's baseline per 36 production would be:
12-13 ppg / 5-6 rpg / 4 apg
...and his baseline scoring and other efficiency:
46-48% FG / 33-35% 3PT / 54-55 TS% / ~106 Ortg
That's a solid player if you're also getting defense out of him. That's a bit above average Ortg, and above average TS%.
A production rate of ~12/6/4 per 36 is great for a utility type player. Assuming ~27 mpg for him, we're talking about something like 9-10 ppg / 4-5 rpg / 3 apg, which are solid numbers for the minutes.So if we can get about 9/4/3 from Lance in about 27 mpg this season on decent efficiency and no major incidents, then it is a success.
Of course we can't be expecting the same production as his year in Indiana if he isn't playing 35 mpg, that wouldn't make sense.
The major problem with the writer's article is that they do what some people do, which is pick and chose stats without context to try and prove something that isn't necessarily the reality.
1) Say's he can't shoot and cites his percentages from last season. The problem with this is that we have a 156 game sample size from the previous two seasons where he has 47.8% FG, 34.3% 3PT. Lance is not a great shooter by any means, but last season isn't representative of his shooting ability either.
2) PER is not a be all, end all stat, it's just a little summary stat of purely statistical production. Lance the previous two seasons has had a decent enough PER, average of 13 or so, but supposedly also impacts on defense, something not measured by PER. So you can have an overall above average player with a PER below 15, so again, need to understand the stats you are quoting and contextualize them.
3) Doesn't average double digits in scoring. So? First of all he's a career 26 mpg player since he played an average of 10 mpg his first two seasons. Career numbers are rarely a representation of the player at the moment unless they are guy who started at a very high level. Imagine someone arguing about another player being better than Bledsoe and saying "Bledsoe is a career 10.8 ppg scorer" Okay, cool, and? Why is that relevant to the current player? Lance improved as a player from his first days until now, so his career numbers aren't really a relevant thing to point out. Secondly his scoring rate is in double digits for every 36 minutes (12.1 pts/36), which is fine for the type of player he is.
4) FT%, he is not an impressive FT shooter for a guard, but citing his 47% FT shooting from 3 seasons ago doesn't mean much. Better off citing his 63% from last season even.
5) Defensive win shares and Drtg ARE a direct product of the teams defense. I've said it many times, individual Drtg is a pretty useless stat. Anyone on a good defensive team will generally have a good Drtg if per minute they can get good defensive rebounds, steals and block stats (eg: David Lee). That's what individual Drtg is. It is team Drtg, and it gets lower (which is better) based on how much of those stats the player collects per minute. Again, this is understanding stats.
Any sort of win shares stat is affected by games played. Lance played 17 fewer games last season than the previous two, so his defensive win shares would be less even if he statistically was credited for more defensive impact. Also, since individual Drtg is directly influenced by team Drtg, his Drtg SHOULD have gone down since Charlotte was an inferior defensive team to the Pacers teams. DRPM would be a more useful stat. Individual Drtg seriously says nothing except "this player grabs defensive rebounds and/or blocks shots and/or gets steals".
Lance might or might not be good, but the author did not really support his ideas there, and certainly not with the stats he quoted in the context that they were quoted. It actually looks like the author didn't have a good grasp of the stats and how to use them in context.