The Los Angeles Lakers are happy to get Larry Nance Jr. back to practice and he is on target for a return on Monday against the Clipers. In a season in which the Lakers’ defense has been much better than expected, Nance played a big role in that before his unfortunate injury.
Even though he hasn’t played in almost a month, Nance remains the team’s leading rebounder and his ability to guard multiple positions was key for the team.
It is those things that head coach Luke Walton points to as for what Nance will bring to the Lakers upon his return. “I think our rebounding has gone down, the versatility at that four spot, the way we like to play,” Walton explained.
“Him being able to defend multiple positions, obviously he’s got some years in the league, and for a young team that’s pretty valuable. Larry is great at doing all the little things that help a team win and don’t get a lot of credit.”
Rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, who worked a lot with Nance in the starting lineup, echoed Walton’s sentiments.
“He does a lot of little things to help the team win, so I’m definitely happy to have him back. He sets screens and he rolls,” Ball said. “I can throw it to the rim or hand it off to him for the floater and then on defense he helps everybody. He’s definitely a big help to the team.”
There were questions about whether Nance would be re-inserted into the starting lineup, as rookie Kyle Kuzma has shined in taking Nance’s spot. Walton spoke as if Nance would re-join the starters which would return Kuzma to the bench where he, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle can run wild over opposing team’s reserves.
Nance undoubtedly brings a lot to the Lakers and his return is very much welcome by everyone. Before the injury, Nance was averaging 10.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.4 steals on 61.4 percent shooting, all career-highs.
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