Part of what has turned Lance Stephenson into a useful piece for the Pacers this season after two years spent mostly watching from the bench has been a much improved 3-point shot.

And, according to Stephenson, a lot of the credit for that goes to Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw.

“He’s motivated me,” Stephenson said after practice earlier this week. “My first two years, I couldn’t hit [any] threes. [But] by playing with him in a little 3-point game and getting with him and giving me the confidence to knock down big shots, he helped me a lot with the confidence in my jump shot.”

Stephenson said he and Shaw, who is expected to interview for the Nets’ head coaching job whenever the Pacers are finished with their playoff run, would have a 1-on-1 shooting competition every day.

He said that, at first, Shaw would beat him routinely. But, over time, Stephenson — who shot 62-for-188 (33 percent) from behind the arc this season after going a combined 4-for-35 in his first two years in the league — said his shot began to improve, as did his winning percentage against Shaw.

“He’ll win now and then, but most likely I will win,” Stephenson said with a smile. “He gives me the confidence in the game to knock down big shots.”

Shaw also received credit from Pacers forward Paul George, who said Shaw’s time playing with superstars such as Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant during his playing career has helped George learn what it takes to take his game to the next level.