At the 2015 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers surprised most by selecting Larry Nance Jr. with their 27th overall pick. While R.J. Hunter and Kevon Looney were still available, Los Angeles ultimately liked his athleticism and defensive abilities and did not want to wait until the second round.
Through 54 games of the season, Nance Jr. has been a pleasant surprise with an improved jump shot and figures to be a part of the team’s young core moving forward. However, after being shut down due to a sore knee leading up to All-Star Weekend, the issues remain. According to Baxter Holmes of ESPN, the Lakers are considering shutting Nance Jr. down for the team’s final 24 games:
The Los Angeles Lakers are considering shutting rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. down for the season’s final 24 games after his sore right knee flared up again Monday, causing him to sit out for the majority of his team’s 108-101 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
After his sore knee limited him to less than 10 minutes against the Milwaukee Bucks, Nance Jr. shared his thoughts on potentially being shut down:
“We’ve talked about it, they’ve talked about it, but at the same time, at this point right now, it’s precautionary,” Nance said about being potentially shut down for the rest of the season.
With the Lakers headed to the NBA draft lottery for the third consecutive season, it makes sense for them to consider this option to avoid further injury. Nance Jr. has proven himself as a starter in 22 games and needs to be fully healthy heading into his sophomore season.
After many questioned the Lakers taking Nance Jr. in the first round, they may have ultimately found one of the steals of the draft. As he continues to improve his all-around game, there is hope Nance Jr. will be able to play alongside Julius Randle.