Larry Nance Jr. may only be entering his third year in the NBA, but at 24 years old, he is actually one of the oldest players on the Los Angeles Lakers roster.
He doesn’t necessarily have as much potential as some of the other young players on the roster which has led to some forgetting about him when discussing the young core.
Magic Johnson is certainly a believer in Nance as he revealed in his appearance on ESPN’s First Take. Johnson called Nance the Lakers’ secret weapon and revealed that they have denied teams asking about him in a potential trade:
“Our secret weapon is Larry Nance…we’ve gotten calls from a lot of teams wanting to trade for him and Brandon Ingram and we’ve said no. Larry is such a fundamentally sound basketball player.”
Magic hit it right on the head in calling Nance fundamentally sound. He’s not someone who projects to be a future star, but he does so many important things on the court that every good team needs.
Nance has become popular because of his highlight reel dunks over the likes of David West and Brook Lopez. However, his best attribute is probably his defense. He has been one of the only good defenders on the Lakers the past couple of seasons, coming up with steals, blocks, and being a sound help defender.
His numbers may not stand out, but his impact is always felt every time he steps on the floor. Add to that he is a great teammate and locker room presence and an extremely hard worker and it makes sense why Magic would rebuff trade offers for him.
Nance will certainly play a big role for the Lakers this season, likely coming off the bench. He showed the ability to play some center late last season, and with Luke Walton wanting to play uptempo, Nance will have his fair share of minutes next season.