Coming into the 2015-16 NBA season, much of the focus about the future of the Los Angeles Lakers went towards D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle. Another young player has made an impact as well, however, in rookie Larry Nance Jr.
Nance has made a mark with his outstanding athleticism leading to multiple posterization dunks, but his defensive acumen and energy led to him being named a starter earlier this month.
In his most recent Rookie Diary post for The Player’s Tribune, Nance recalled finding out he was a starter. He was admittedly nervous and even said that he hesitated in coming out during the player intros:
“It was a pretty cool feeling to have my name called in the starting lineup for an NBA game. That first time it took me a second to run out because I was used to waiting and listening for everyone else. The announcer says, “Out of Wyoming …”
I’m like, Who went to Wyoming?
Oh, right … me!”
Even with the move to the starting lineup, Nance maintains that his role and what he brings remains the same:
“I was happy to see I could impact the game as a starter in the same way I did coming off the bench. Tapouts. Offensive rebounds. Getting to 50/50 balls. Being a pest on defense. I try to always bring energy, whether I’m starting or coming in as a reserve. In that sense, my job doesn’t change.”
Nance has been a pleasant surprise so far this season, proving to be a good defender both on and off the ball, and constantly bringing energy and athleticism to the team.
There are questions as to whether Nance could be a starter moving forward, but he has definitely shown that he is a piece worth keeping around, and a valuable piece of the Lakers core.