Larry Nance Jr. – Best Case: Thaddeus Young, Worst Case: Louis Amundson
Larry Nance Jr. was the most unknown of the Lakers’ picks as many experts had him pegged as a second-round pick at best. Nonetheless, there are a lot of things to like about Nance’s game.
Nance uses his athleticism, speed, and length to be effective on both ends of the floor. He’s an average rebounder and shooter, but his activity and heart give opponents fits as he never takes plays off. Thaddeus Young of the Brooklyn Nets has a very similar build and style and has made it work for him in his career thus far.
Like Nance, Young is slightly undersized as a power forward and relies more on his length and athleticism to be effective. He doesn’t need plays to be ran for him, but his understanding of how to get open and finding spaces in the defense gets him a ton of easy baskets. Young is also quick enough to switch out on wings defensively and cover them on pick-and-rolls.
If Nance wants to have a long NBA career, he will have to thrive in the dirty work role. Non-stop activity and hustle will be his bread and butter, and defensive versatility will be his calling card. He likely won’t ever be in the situation Young was to put up the scoring numbers that Young did, but his style of play is something that Nance should be looking to emulate as he can be a stat-sheet stuffer.
Louis Amundson always seems to find a home somewhere in the NBA as an end of the bench hustle guy. If Nance is unable to develop his skills, he could find himself in a similar role as a journeyman big struggling keep a foothold with a singular team in the league.