At the 2015 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers surprised most with their two selections in the first round. After being linked to Jahlil Okafor prior to the draft, the storied franchise not only took D’Angelo Russell, but Larry Nance Jr. with their No. 27 pick.
After being selected by the Lakers, Nance Jr. faced turmoil, but endeared himself to the fans at the Las Vegas Summer League with his motor. In an interview with Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, Nance Jr. recalled his first impression after being drafted by Los Angeles:
“My first impression was, ‘This is the Lakers. The Lakers! THE. LAKERS.’ I couldn’t get that out of my head,” Nance said with a laugh. “I mean, it was just really cool. These guys are a part of my family now! I’m a part of their family! I’m a Laker! It was very surreal.”
After playing four seasons at Wyoming where he averaged 11.3 points and 6.6 rebounds, Nance Jr. is a mature rookie in a time where most prospects leave college after one season. Although he is not projected to be part of the rotation to start the season, his energy on both ends of the court could provide a nice spark off the bench.
Heading into the new season, all the attention will be on Kobe Bryant’s 20th season and how the young core develops. While the Western Conference will be an uphill battle, the Lakers have a nice blend of veterans and prospects that are looking to make the playoffs.[divide]