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Luke Walton admits he stopped trying to contain Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson, Luke Walton

Los Angeles Lakers swingman Lance Stephenson has got to be one of the fiercest personalities we have in the game today. So much so, that even team head coach Luke Walton has admitted to have had some trouble in trying to contain the flamboyant veteran.

According to Walton, he accepted early on that Stephenson is a strong-willed individual, and that he functions best without a tight leash.

“The air guitar, absolutely I’m OK with that,” Walton said, via ESPN. “He’s been doing it and you can’t take that away from the man. It’s who he is. I tried once earlier this season and he just keeps doing it. That is what makes him is his competitive greatness and that is who he is.”

This is as telling of Stephenson’s strong personality, as it is with how much control Walton has over his locker room. As he admitted, the 38-year-old coach attempted to tone down Stephenson’s antics, but to no avail. It appears that the 6-foot-6 guard/forward decided against heeding his coach’s advice, and just carried on with his usual frolics.

Then again, this is Lance Stephenson we are talking about here. He is not exactly the easiest player to coach, and perhaps Walton has actually figured out what kind of give-and-take relationship he must have with the nine-year veteran so as to bring out the best out of him.

For his part, Stephenson has been a steady contributor for the Lakers so far this season, averaging 7.4 points (on 44.3 percent shooting), 0.9 three-pointers, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 0.7 steals in 15.0 minutes off the bench.