Welcome back to another part of the “Making the Leap” series. Next I will be talking about a member of the young Lakers core in Larry Nance Jr., the son of former high-flying swingman Larry Nance Sr.
On the night of the 2015 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers used their 27th pick on the Wyoming Cowboy. A lot of scouts were puzzled by the selection. I remember watching it and one scout said “I had him as a mid 2nd round selection.”
During his four years at Wyoming, he was a guy that did just about everything. He averaged 11.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks in 123 games.
Nance surprisingly had a decent rookie season. With the Lakers struggling at times and having such a young team, he was given opportunities to perform and he did. He showed flashes on being a great player for his team and even had some nice highlight dunks just like his father back in the 80s. There was even talks of him participating in the dunk contest, but unfortunately he suffered a knee injury right around the All-Star break so his chances were not so good.
Larry Nance Jr. 2015-2016 regular season averages: 5.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.4 blocks while shooting 52.7% (including 10% from three). Played in 63 games and started 22 of them.
Take away the knee injury he suffered, Larry Nance developed into a nice role player for the LA Lakers. Not bad for a late 1st round pick that was look at as a bit of a reach. His highlight dunks and solid play at both ends has definitely impressed management.
So what should we expect in year two? Well he is currently playing for the Lakers summer league team so that should help improve his game. With the Lakers having such a young core in Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram, Nance’s name will be called upon a lot.
With Ingram and Randle expected to start at the 3 and 4 respectively, Nance will most likely be coming off the bench and backing up both forward spots. If injuries occur then expect Nance to be inserted in the starting lineup. Regardless, Larry Nance will have a decent amount of playing time and who knows, maybe if he does more highlight reel dunks he might see him in the 2017 Dunk Contest.
The Lakers are a young team but they have a really good group of young guys. It may take a while but if all the guys play together nicely, including Nance, this team can get back to thier winning ways sooner rather than later.