Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. was in the middle of an impressive Summer League performance when disaster struck. He exploded to the rim as he has done time and time again, but this time a Cleveland Cavaliers player took a charge and sent Nance crashing to the floor, landing awkwardly on his wrist. It looked bad on the first view, and after the game word circulated that he had broken a bone.
Fortunately, an MRI later revealed that his wrist was just sprained, which, while still painful, moved up his recovery timeline. It was recently reported that Nance is just a few weeks away from being completely healthy, and Nance took to Twitter to announce that he will start shooting the basketball at the end of the week.
While Summer League isn’t always a great indicator of NBA success, the improvements that Nance showed were nonetheless impressive. It’s a small sample size, but he looked more comfortable shooting the ball, particularly from behind the arc.
New Lakers Coach Luke Walton’s Golden State Warriors-inspired offense will doubtlessly need floor spacing to run effectively, and if Nance’s ability to knock down shots is for real, he could find himself playing a bigger role than most imagined when he was selected with the 27th pick in 2015.
Nance also showed improved passing during Summer League, as well as an ability to rebound the ball and ignite a fast-break off the dribble. This facet of his game could make things particularly interesting because it is a big part of presumed starter Julius Randle’s repertoire as well.
If Nance can prove that he can replicate Randle’s fast break ability while also providing things that Randle has struggled with, like shooting and rim protection, he could theoretically give Walton something to think about when determining who will start at power forward next season.