The Los Angeles Lakers own one of the youngest rosters in the NBA, with a core that is developing with each and every game. With the young players already participating in involuntary workouts, they are eager to expand their game. As a part of the recent up-tempo trend in the NBA, players such as Larry Nance Jr. and Ivica Zubac are now stepping up and expanding their range.
As the season progressed, both Nance Jr. and Zubac got comfortable with the mid-range shot, with Nance Jr. even stepping out into three-point range at times. With head coach Luke Walton pushing for this pace, the Lakers need to develop their shots from the wing and corners, converting on drive and kicks.
This young core has stepped up and shown a desire to improve, holding themselves accountable for their sub-par play. Although it is early into their offseason workouts, a three-point rivalry is brewing between Nance Jr. and Zubac, according to Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet:
This summer, Zubac + Nance Jr. will each shoot 100 3s after informal workouts at Laker facility and track on a whiteboard how many they make
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) May 18, 2017
To put it into perspective, Nance Jr. shot 10-for-36 from three-point range last season, which is good for 27.8 percent. However, there was a disparity as the season progressed. Nance Jr. shot 2-for-13 during the first five months of the season, but went 4-for-9 during May.
On the other hand, Zubac didn’t have many opportunities to shoot from beyond the arc, as one of the lone low-post scoring options on the Lakers. The rookie went 0-for-3 for the entire season, but demonstrated he can knock down the extended mid-range jump shot.
The up-tempo and three-point hoisting resides as the new trending style of play in the NBA, as a part of the new era of basketball. Teams are scouting prospects based on their adaptability to this new style, and also hoping current players can develop in accordance to stretching the floor. Big guys like Marc Gasol and Brook Lopez have expanded their range in recent years. Nance and Zubac will look to do the same.