Casual fans of the sport would likely scratch their noggins when asked if they knew who Larry Nance Jr is. He most certainly does not hold a household name like other prospects and there are some fair reasons as to why. Instead of declaring for the draft as soon as possible, Larry spent an abundance of time with his college team at Wyoming. Most rookies head to the NBA early in their lives to offer teams the possibility of growth but with Nance, we may have seen just about everything he has to offer.
We have feasted our eyes on a linear progression in terms of Nance’s skillset. Year after year he got better but the question is now, at the ripe age of 22, how much growing does he still have left? During his final term at Wyoming he put together a line of 16.1 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.2 SPG and 1.2 BPG.
Now that’s one well put together performance, even if done by a senior. The most notable accolade Nance received based on his contributions game-in and game-out was the prestigious MWC Defensive Player of the Year.
The biggest question mark in all of this still stands, can the 6’9 forward make an impact in the NBA or has he shown us everything he’s capable of? Dominating the college landscape is eons apart from dominating the NBA and if development will be an issue, that will be a recipe for disaster.
Summer League Performance:
Disappointment ran deep through Laker fans when faced with the reality of Nance’s Las Vegas Summer League stint. He was only able to muster up the lacklustre line of 2.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 0.6 APG while shooting a messily 29%. If anything, Nance proved to the world why he had fallen so low in the draft. He had ample opportunity to make a name for himself but instead he fumbled and is now going to face even more scrutiny going forward than ever before.
Not all is bleak in the realm of Nance though, especially when we look at things more profoundly. The Lakers have a variety of young talent and with Clarkson being as spectacular as he is, that could have contributed to a lesser role, thus lesser stats for Nance. Despite his appalling offensive stats, on the other side of the ball he faired decently. Averaging 1.6 SPG is remarkable and if those numbers can stay steady, opposing teams will definitely need to note Nance when making passes. One final thing many people witnessed was his ability to make intelligent decisions with the ball in his hands. He demonstrated this through his extremely low turnover rate (a little over 1 per game!)
Putting everything into perspective, at the 28th pick there definitely were no sure-fire picks left and taking a chance on Nance isn’t the worst decision in the world. If through some miracle, he can correct his issues, Nance can be a serviceable player in the future.
Graphic via nba
Fit On The Los Angeles Lakers:
If Nance had to land on a team, none are more suitable than the Lakers. They are desperately in need of a reboot and the one way they are going to accomplish that is through the draft given the lack of current free agent interest. Nance is a low risk, medium reward type of player. That late in the draft few players are going to be worth-while, so why not give the previous MWC Defensive Player of the Year a shot?
The Lakers can also afford to splurge with Nance’s playing time which will hopefully allow him to learn more. This is especially true, given the elevated level of play throughout the NBA. Also, with the likes of Kobe Bryant still lingering around, Nance can pick up tips from one of the all-time greats to help set himself apart from the busts of the draft.
If Nance cannot succeed within the Laker’s organization, than it is highly unlikely he will ever form into a competent NBA player, but that won’t be a major issue for the Lakers who have other young guns to utilize.