A relative unknown commodity when he was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers 27th overall, Larry Nance Jr. has shown himself to be a great young player for the franchise, and that has not been lost on head coach Byron Scott.
Scott moved Nance Jr. into the starting lineup in December and he has taken full advantage of the opportunity, especially in the last five games as he has averaged 11.6 points and 10.4 rebounds.
Nance has surely outplayed a number of players drafted ahead of him so far, and Scott even went so far as to say he would be a lottery pick if there was a draft re-do according to Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Byron Scott on Larry Nance, Jr: "I think if we were to redo the draft, he'd be a lottery pick."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 4, 2016
If Nance was a lottery pick, he wouldn’t be with the Lakers right now, and there is no place he would rather be according to the Lakers official Twitter page:
Larry Nance Jr. on Byron saying he's lottery-pick worthy: "I don't think there's anywhere I'd rather be than 27th to the LA Lakers."
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 4, 2016
Statistically speaking, Scott could be right as Nance currently ranks 12th among rookies in scoring and tied for sixth in rebounds. Even the advanced stats such as Win Shares ranks Nance among the best of this class so far.
Of course, it is completely unfair to judge the rookie class at this stage as many rookies haven’t yet had the opportunity to play as much as Nance. The Lakers have clearly found a steal in Nance, however, and he looks poised to far outplay his draft position.