The Los Angeles Lakers saw an exhilarating start to the season flounder into mediocre play, as the 2016-17 season concluded with a 26-56 record. The front office has since provided major upgrades to the roster, while players such as Larry Nance Jr., Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball are excited to begin this next era of Lakers basketball.
The 2016-17 campaign turned into a surplus of lessons to learn from, with head coach Luke Walton and the front office tinkering the roster to display a different demeanor. It is no secret the Lakers need to make an increased effort on defense in order for those close contests to transfer into victories.
Nance Jr. participated in an interview with Spectrum SportsNet, where he addressed the Lakers team and individual goals going into the next season. After taking a pause to collect his thoughts, Nance Jr. set a simple goal that he believes the entire team is working towards:
“Team goals. I want to make the playoffs. I think everybody wants to make the playoffs here, but at the same time we just really want to play the right way, share the basketball, play unselfishness.”
Walton has really instilled this correct thought process onto his roster, which the Lakers want to transfer onto the court. During today’s up-tempo NBA pace, players really have to make a conscious and cohesive effort on defense to see positive results.
Nance Jr. was the embodiment of an ideal two-way player last season, displaying a high basketball IQ on the both the offensive and defensive end. Now entering his third NBA season, the 24-year-old posted averages of 7.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.3 steals per game during his sophomore season. Nance Jr. was a vocal presence on the defensive end, while being a capable passer and playmaker on offense.
The Lakers allowed the 28th most points per game in the NBA last season, which also prompted Nance Jr.’s claim that the Lakers will not be close to the worst defensive team entering next season. Nance Jr. surely wants to headline the positive change surrounding the franchise, with a sense of optimism engulfing the franchise after the takeover of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka.