When the Los Angeles Lakers drafted Larry Nance Jr. with the 27th pick in 2015, not many people knew who Nance was as he played at Wyoming, a smaller school than most players being drafted.
But credit to the Lakers scouting department, Nance ended up being one of the biggest steals of that draft as he has made huge contributions in his first two seasons with the Lakers.
Heading into his third season, Nance will look to take big strides with the Lakers, and Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson believes he can do that as he recently called him the team’s secret weapon and said that many teams called inquiring about him this summer but he was basically untouchable.
When Nance heard Johnson, one of the best basketball players of all-time, say that about him he was blown away, saying that it made him feel wanted and a lot more confident, via Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:
“That’s not just somebody on ESPN saying that,” Nance said. “That’s Magic Johnson. That’s one of the greatest point guards, greatest players of all time. To hear a compliment like that coming from a guy like him, it was really cool. Makes you feel wanted and really confident in what you’re doing.
“The more and more pieces come together. Uncertainty went away and nervousness went away and excitement crept in. Now we’re full blown excited. I really love the way things are shaping up.”
While Nance will likely be one of the team’s main contributors off the bench with Julius Randle starting at power forward, Lakers head coach Luke Walton recently said that there will be a competition during training camp between Nance, Randle and rookie Kyle Kuzma, so Randle starting is not yet set in stone.
Nance should benefit from the addition of point guard Lonzo Ball, as Ball can find him for easy dunks and alley-oops, so Nance could be in for a career year with the Lakers this season.