Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. was a bright spot last season, displaying a level of versatility and athleticism that suggested that the purple and gold found themselves a steal with the 27th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Knee issues plagued his rookie season, but Nance still showed some impressive flashes, including a stretch where he took the starting power forward spot from Julius Randle.
Nance was even more impressive in the Las Vegas Summer League this year, showcasing an array of vicious dunks and blocks that had fans in Sin City chanting his name. Unfortunately, a violent fall against the Cavaliers resulted in a sprained wrist, and Nance had to shut down his workouts.
A photo posted by Larry Nance Jr (@larrydn7) on
Heading into training camp, it’s possible that Nance will again challenge Randle to be the Lakers’ starting power forward. It will be up to Coach Luke Walton to determine which one gets the nod and if last season is any indication, it won’t be an easy decision. That said, having two quality young forward to deploy is a great problem for the Lakers to have, even if it does require a few tough choices.
It’s also possible that we will see Walton go small, sliding Nance to center to play next to Randle. In theory, Nance’s adequate rim protection and increasing ability to shoot from outside makes him an intriguing partner for Randle, who in turn can help make up for Nance’s rebounding struggles. The Lakers would be giving up a lot of size, but using Nance as a center in limited minutes could allow Walton to ensure plenty of minutes for both of his young forwards.