Lamar Stevens Shines In Recent Stretch With Cleveland Cavaliers

For nearly four years since LeBron James’ departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers, the once-historically successful franchise quickly turned into a bottom feeder within the NBA landscape. Currently, however, the Cavs’ losing ways have completely reversed — perhaps thanks to up-and-coming stars like Penn State’s Lamar Stevens.

Currently, Cleveland boasts a strong 27-18 record coupled with the fourth-best winning percentage in the Eastern Conference. While the Cavaliers’ newfound success failed to develop overnight, the addition of several young pieces — including Stevens — has paved the way for a hungry, team-oriented style that isn’t regularly adopted across professional basketball.

Before being sidelined in his squad’s most recent matchup with the Brooklyn Nets, the rangy forward saw action in every regular season contest, averaging nearly 16 minutes per game. Furthermore, since the middle of December, Stevens’ production has increased by almost a full quarter.

Behind almost 25 minutes per outing, the Philadelphia native has posted three games with 15 or more points in his past eight appearances. More impressively, the prolific scorer’s explosion in production has occurred with posting a 53.8% shooting percentage in the month of January.

Similar to Stevens’ tenure in Happy Valley, some of his most impressive stretches in the association have occurred in ridiculous hot streaks, with his most recent scoring spree coming against the Jazz less than a week ago. The Cavaliers’ front court continued to feed Stevens inside-and-out, as the budding bench staple nailed 6-for-7 shots from the field, equating to a 15-point third quarter to put his team up double-digits entering the final period.

Ultimately, the second-year product willed his team to a pivotal upset victory with a game-high 23 points and an additional seven rebounds, showing his worth on both ends of the floor.

Although the Cavaliers are typically strangers to playing on national television, Stevens has risen to the occasion in several other highly anticipated matchups. In Klay Thompson’s return to the Golden State Warriors’ lineup following a grueling two-year injury recovery, Stevens put the league on notice.

Although Cleveland fell 96-82 to the potent Warriors, Stevens torched Steve Kerr’s talented bunch by burying 8-of-11 shot attempts for 17 points, good for what was then a career-high mark.

While many around the Cavaliers organization have pushed for the pick-up of a versatile wing presence who can stretch the floor before the trade deadline arrives, Stevens may have earned himself a solidified rotation spot based on his recent spurt of supremacy.

More importantly, the Penn Stater has carved a reputation as a contagious locker room leader in less than two-full campaigns with Cleveland.

Similar to how the forward turned the Nittany Lions from a Big Ten pushover to a shoo-in for the Big Dance as a senior, Stevens’ ability to alter the attitude of his peers is already well-documented in his short stint with the Cavaliers.

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a senior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania double majoring in journalism and business. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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