Last year, the Los Angeles Lakers surprised everyone by selecting the relatively unknown Larry Nance Jr. with the 27th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Nance played four years at Wyoming and was considered a prospect that would have to make a considerable impression to make an NBA squad, especially with concerns about his knee after a torn ACL in college.
Fortunately for Nance, the son of a former NBA star made that impression in Los Angeles and has become a household name. Nance has gone from a player that may have been fighting just to be on the active roster to a valuable role player for the Lakers.
On Sunday against the Chicago Bulls, Nance had one of the best performances of his NBA career. The 23-year-old scored a career-high 18 points to go along with six rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block.
After the impressive performance by Nance, D’Angelo Russell talked about the impact of his teammate, via Mark Medina of InsideSoCal.com:
“He’s going to get those putbacks. He’s going to do the little things on defense,” Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell said. “He’s going to talk. On offense, he finishes around the rim. He rolls, sets great screens and does all the little things.”
Nance, like many players on this Lakers roster, has taken his game to another level this season. The second-year forward has quickly become one of Luke Walton’s most reliable players off the bench. Nance has been a force on both ends of the floor this season, especially making an impact defensively.
In 13 games thus far, Nance is averaging 7.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 assists per game. Nance is also shooting 61.2 percent from the floor as part of the Lakers’ talented second unit.
Nance and company will try to bounce back from two straight losses at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night at the Staples Center.