Larry Nance Jr. Calls Playing Alongside Kobe Bryant ‘Dream Come True’
Lakers News: Larry Nance Jr. (knee) Questionable Against Pistons
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. got off to a rocky start with the Los Angeles Lakers. After being drafted with the 27th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, someone went digging into his past and found a controversial tweet on his Twitter account from 2012 about his new teammate, Kobe Bryant.

Lakers fans weren’t thrilled with Nance’s tweet, and many thought Bryant would make an example of the Wyoming product on the practice floor all season long. Nance didn’t let things get out of hand with the rookie apologizing to Bryant and the fans for his tweet about the five-time NBA champion.

After making 19 appearances and four starts in a Lakers uniform, Nance’s tweet is a distant memory, and the rookie has begun to appreciate playing alongside one of the greatest NBA players of all time. Nance recently talked about how special it has been to share the floor with Kobe this season via SiriusXM NBA Radio:

Although it was uncertain whether Nance would see the floor much during his rookie season, the 22-year-old has worked his way into the starting lineup for head coach Byron Scott. Nance has been impressive in 18.1 minutes per game he’s played this year as he’s quickly become a valuable asset to the team.

Nance is averaging 4.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game this season while shooting 46.6 percent from the floor. Those numbers are bound to improve as the season progresses with the rookie now playing in starting role.

The primary goal of the Lakers franchise heading into the season was the development of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, and Jordan Clarkson. Now, after seeing his potential, Nance is starting mentioned along with these three young players as a building block for the future in Los Angeles.

As long as Nance continues to improve with the playing time he’s being given, the future might be bright indeed for the rookie forward.

It’s not so much about the minutes. Both Randle and Russell are the best options on the team at their positions. Williams was brought in to be the Sixth man. He’s a SG not a PG. Much of last season Scott tried to prep Clarkson to be a SG as he had him play off the ball. Drafting Russell was conformation of that thinking. Then Kobe was moved to SF to make room for the eventual starting back court of the future.

Randle is hands down the best PF on roster and TBH, the best big man period. Given the plans that were laid out coupled with the actual performance results showing these rooks are the best options at their perspective positions on this lotto team, giving them the PT, starters role & usage rates is not gifting them. Again, we have no better options so they might as well be allowed to go through the growing pains, ala KD, Westbrook and Harden.

  • Don’t think Mitch has the same view, playtime has to be earned which IMO is cool. Except this coach will still shut down/limit minutes to the players who’ve been contributing most.

    Seen this with Russell, JC this season and now with Randle tho it doesn’t say much at the 4 when a player shows more effort than improvement at the position. Inconsistent with his so called jumper, fumbles the ball too much etc.

  • A case can be made that they ARE being allowed to go through those growing pains:

    1. Scott’s logic about them having to learn how to maximize their opportunities and deliver on a nightly basis is sound.
    2. Playing on the 2nd unit gets them significant minutes WITHOUT Kobe.
    3. It’s only a temporary shakeup anyway.

  • Randle is raw away from the basket, sure, but you get the sense that he’s close. And he’s going to be an excellent rebounder in this league. Combine that with his strength, vision from the post, and body control to hit odd-angled shots down low. Players often make big strides with their jumper in the offseason.

  • I can dig that take but who are they sitting behind that have earned it above and beyond them?

  • Vets who have experience to get the team off to a better start than the team was getting with the rookies starting. Granted Russell came in and did a good job with Clarkson being out.

  • No but the the team has had better starts after the lineup change was made. Russell is 4th most in minutes played with Rookies in the league. So He not being hurt by coming off the bench.

  • Obviously the kids are the most talented and probably would produce the most on the court. It’s not about production though. These kids have had everyone telling them they’re the best thing since sliced bread since they were in middle school

    They’ve been working hard, but they need to take it to another (professional) level. A little humble pie never hurt anyone

  • Again, minutes was not my beef. Usage rate/role was the issue. When JC went down and Kobe stepped back, Russell stepped up and shined.

    Kobe came out the gate struggling big time and fatigue was/is a major factor. Scott payed that no mind as Kobe has the highest usage rate on the team by miles. It makes no sense that Kobe himself had to intervene on what was clear from the jump.

  • Well the issue with Kobe is he an attraction. On the road even more so. He’s a draw for the Laker Brand as well as the NBA Brand. So is there a not so secret agenda to feature a soon to retire HOF making his last rounds around the league. Yeah. So Byron’s is given the task of handing a delicate situation with Kobe retiring and developing the kids. So Kobe’s usage may not make sense to the fans. ( Short for fanatic) But it makes dollars and sense to the Laker and NBA Brand. The kids will get their minutes while coming off the bench. Developing together without having to worry about Kobe taking shots from them. Russell asked for the starting role. Remember his “I was Born for this.” comment. That role with Kobe didn’t work out. No matter how much you hate that Kobe is starting while having his worst career numbers. The Lakers and the NBA is not going to sit their showcase retiring HOF piece. That is selling out arenas while having his worst year. It’s just not going to happen. Understand the NBA is a Business first entertainment second,basketball comes in third. Reality.

  • These guys are all used to doing their thing on offense and that hurts team play. That’s the bad thing about having too many high draft picks (Clarkson fits into this mold too even though he was a 2 pick). They are all high potential guys but they may not necessarily be able to play with each other. Getting Ben Simmons would only worsen the situation.

    The solution would be to keep at most two of Randle, Russell and Clarkson. Then surround them with guys who only want to shoot, set screens and play defense.Good role players who will play within a system. Hopefully one will become a role player extraordinaire like Draymond Green, Kyle Korver or even Klay Thompson, who I consider a role player

  • Whoo! Daryl something we agree on. Randle could be a Blake Griffin type player. He is Raw. I think he goes one on one a bit too much. It’s like when he gets the ball, he aint passing it. He’s going. I’d like to see him pass that out to an open shooter every once in a while. When the defense collapses on him in the paint. I like that he’s working on the jumper too

  • Randle and Clarkson are keepers to me. They both play with energy and a hunger. Russell not so much. But he is getting better and a bit more aggressive. I hope that all three develop solid roles on this team. I dont care if it’s as a back up or a starter.

  • IMO, Scott allows this me, me mindset to manifest. He keeps calling them soft and saying “man up” we never hear any team construct defined roles outside of Kobe has the right to do it all, at will. We’ve also heard past players of Scott question his system and what direction he’s leading.

    This team is better than it’s record IMO. Better coaching would have them looking better. Not contender but much better than 3 wins.

  • Feature; does he need to be featured to have a successful farewell tour? Fans are paying to see him one last time. That does not have to come at the cost of everyone else on the team. Fans still saw Kobe in Minny when he took himself out of most of the second half.

    I don’t hate Kobe starting. I hate that Scott can’t get a clue in managing the entire team.

  • wasn’t much of a dream when not so long ago he called Kobe a rapist. Unless he had aspirations to be one. But yeah, nice of him to redeem himself by saying stuff like that, but can’t take away what has been said.

    Just hustle, play his game improve, and all will be well.

  • Griffin was slight more skilled than Randle but he had similar deficiencies. I’d like to see Randle play more off the ball and in the low post when he does get feature touches. His face up game is a nature strength that he’ll always have. Agreed on his jumper taking time.

  • But thats the point. How do you manage developing the kids with a HOFer Farewell tour? The fans ( On the road) are coming to see Kobe play. Most teams have raised ticket prices due to Kobe’s retirement. They dont care about Russell’s development. I think asking Scott to handle this balancing act without making some upset, is asking the impossible.

  • See Kareem, Dr. J and even Magic in 96. They did not need to be featured above the teams they were on. Scott is doing way too much.

  • Scott sucks as a coach. But this is not on him IMO. Teams with so many “star” young players never do well. They do better when they either make one a 6th man (OKC) or let some go (Memphis – Rudy Gay, OJ Mayo).

    Orlando Magic had the same issue last season. Coach Skiles has benched Oladipo for Channing Frye (catch-shoot only). He’s also limited the young core (Harris, Vucevic, Payton, Oladipo) to around 25 mins per game. Now their winning.

    Hope Jim and Mitch realize that too many ball dominant guys do not win in the NBA. There is only one ball ffs

  • Daryl i Disagree. I think this team is exactly what they’ve shown. Nine new guys mostly rookies. Learning a system and each other on the fly. Remember Kobe wasn’t cleared to shoot until just before training camp. Kobe usually starts his training much earlier in the summer. This may explain his poor start to the season and why he’s getting better. He’s just now catching up to where he would normally be to start the season. As far as timing and his legs. Since Kobe had to start so late. His timing was off he couldn’t put the team on his back. There was no way this team was going to get off to a good start. Even had Kobe started the season with his legs and timing. The Lakers might be a win or two better than we are now. I never thought this was a playoff team constructed. I also thought they would be on the same pace as last years team. That’s right where they are.

  • I actually like Russell now. I think he has a higher ceiling than any of Randle or Clarkson. He is the better “basketball player” (not athlete) than either right now. His aggression also helps open up the game for others. Randle and Clarkson are ball stoppers right now. Clarkson can turn that off at times but he is still not completely in sync with team play

  • That my concern with Russell. He’s a ball dominate guard and that doesn’t always translate to a championship. The one exception would be Curry. But Curry’s out of this world 3 point shot is the difference. CP3 Ball dominate, Nash ball dominate, Harden Ball dominate Westbrook ball dominate. No rings and only one finals appearance among them. ( Westbrook and Harden finals appearance same year same team )

  • That’s not an issue. Those guys were all the main guys on good playoff teams. That’s all I ask for as a fan. Actually winning the chip comes down to good coaching and intangibles. Russell is good enough in my opinion. His shot will start falling more. He has the highest ceiling of any of our youngsters right now. If you have to choose someone to build around right now, it would have to be him

  • Ooh I disagree On Russell’s ceiling. He looks so average and mostly passive. I know he only 19 but with most rookies you have to ask them to slow their game down and let the game come to them ( Randle Clarkson ) With Russell you have to ask him to speed it up a bit be more aggressive.

  • “Kobe wasn’t cleared to shoot until just before training camp. Kobe usually starts his training much earlier in the summer. This may explain his poor start to the season and why he’s getting better. He’s just now catching up to where he would normally be to start the season. As far as timing and his legs. Since Kobe had to start so late. His timing was off he couldn’t put the team on his back.”

    Proof Scott is horrible as he should have eased Kobe in playing less to begin… standard MO for a player returning from injury.

    Kobe is no longer that dude/the Mamba. We’ll see flashes but that’s not sustainable. You can’t tell me we could have an injury free roster, upgrade our center and bench, and have a worse record than last season? Sorry man but Scott is failing miserably.

  • Where your statement loses Traction is that when Kareem retired the Lakers had other Stars still on that team….Magic retired under different Circumstances…..There is No Stars on this Existing Lakers team but Kobe…

  • Victor went out injured and Fournier had been coming. Big difference as we have no Fournier on roster. The ball dominate thing is not the problem. We’ve seen ball dominate players adapt. Pat Riley coined it best… willing concessions. Young did so playing for MDA just two seasons ago. We had fifty PG’s with a ball dominate Xavier Henry. KG and Paul P. LeBron and Wade. JC figured it out playing with Lin but Scott didn’t want to allow them to run heavy PNR. SMH

    OKC made a HUGE mistake letting Harden go. That cost them their championship window. Harden was never a starter for OKC and that was the right way. That said, OKC still let a very young core grow.

  • I agree Russell has the higher ceiling but he still has the lower floor. It’s just way too early for all this absolute type casting.

  • Lol, yeah that was funny , can’t imagine how he felt the first time they met

  • OMG Lakers were still a contending team with Kareem in his farewell tour. There were no Kids to develop. Magic played in only 32 games after January in 1996 on a bad team. That again didn’t have a 2nd overall pick to develop and worry about. Dr J was also playing on a bad 6rs team with a promising Young player name Barkley who balled out but he was a 2 year vet at the time. But again No promising rookie on the roster to worry about. So i dont see those situation the same as Byron’s.

  • Now I like that assessment. I’m hard on the kid but i dont think anyone can say for sure if he’s a bust or a star. I just want to see more from the kid.

  • Are we not rebuilding? Have we not been in the lotto two years running? Is Kobe not playing?

    Yes we had different circumstances but that does not excuse Scott using kobe on the court this heavily. Did he not learn anything from the last few seasons?

    You can’t tell me Lakers fans weren’t excited to see the youth competing in Minny minus Kobe? I’m not saying Kobe should sit exclusively but Scott is again, way too Kobe centric. There’s a middle ground that Scott himself witnessed in two former teammates.

  • Maybe they want Nance to develop too. I don’t think they’re sitting because anyone took their job. I think they’re sitting because bringing Kobe off the bench is unthinkable.

  • Hibbert and Bass are hardly an upgrade at center. The Bench is not that much of an upgrade. Granted we got the 6th man of the year last year. But his shot is not falling like that. Lou didn’t even shoot that well in his 6th man season. But he gets to the line. Then you have Metta who wasn’t even in the league last year. Rookies in Nance and A. Brown. Marcelo Huertas fresh from Europe, never played in a NBA game. And Nick Young. I’m sorry but that’s not much of an upgrade from last years bench. I dont know how anyone thought this team was going to make the playoffs.

  • Nance is an older rookie and has shown he’s comfortable in his skin/lane. His development is less detail needed. He’ll plug in at PF the same as Bass IMO.

    Not once have I suggested Kobe come off the bench. Usage rate is the issue.

  • So you wouldn’t Build around Towns or Porzingis over Russell? You can make strong arguments for Mudiay and Oakfor over Russell right now. History has proven that ball dominate guards will only get you so far.

  • Haha I disagree bro. Fournier is a shooter who plays within himself. Never forces shots. He played with Victor to start. Frye was the guy who benched Victor.

    Like I said, 2 players who play out of the system like “stars” is the max for any unit. You just supported my argument by naming all those duos. Although KG has never really been ball dominant. On the C’s he was a pick and pop, catch-one dribble-shoot guy.

    The main problem with Scott is he does not let the players push the ball. The team never gets transition buckets and so we play a set defense always. HE is the only coach that does this in the league. SMH. I think the offense would be fine if the pace increased. We all know his rotations are trash also. Not even worth writing about

  • Didn’t imply Bass as a center but Hibbert is absolutely an upgrade. Bass is best suited to be a back up PF.

    No matter how you cut it, this team should not be worse than the last two injury riddled seasons.

  • From you are a GM (MK ) I don’t see you sign a good player. Only trade ( Gasol, Howard and Hibbet ) What you do for LAKERS?

  • Im talking guys on the team right now. Don’t get me started on guys I would rather have on the lakers though. Life is too short for that lol

  • We’ll agree to disagree on the Orlando thing as the layers to that are deeper than what we’ve stated.

    Again, we don’t have reserve talents that are better suited to move in front of Randle and Russell. The elephant in the room is Kobe. The kid’s practice one way but are forced to play different on game day and that is why they look better not playing with Kobe.

    I agree with the pace theme. That still seems to be a byproduct of the MDA distance theme.

    The Celtics big three had to make concessions in coming together. KG was the Man in Minny. Usage rate off the charts. Same with Paul P. Then the three of them gave the reigns to a very young Rondo in Doc’s Mbutu team theme. Apples to oranges but just stating on the Riley like, willing concessions theme. I don’t think Scott has that in his repotoire.

  • Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel. Magic sat behind Ceballos and them. They were not that bad as a young team. DJ didn’t play on a bad team. The situations are different but the commonality is a lesser role for the retiring great. No one complained.

    The probability of Kobe not finishing this season is much higher with him being featured like he is. I’m sure fans would be even more disappointed if Kobe went down again.

  • This is my problem with Hibbert at center. Yes he’s a shot blocker 2 per game good for 8th in the league. But we dont get that inside presence on offense to open up the shooters. So you cant play inside outside basketball. You can cover Hibbert with a scrub center with no double team. So the rest of the defenders can stay at home on the shooters. Randle doesn’t give us that presence on the inside either. He often goes one on one not looking to pass even if the defense collapses on him. With no inside game the Lakers are a Jump shooting one on one team. Again i dont see where you thought Hibbert was an upgrade. Jordan Hill was a better post player and scorer for us than Hibbert. Hill averaged 12 pt’s a game with 7.9 RB. Hibbert is 7.6 pt with 6.5 RB a game. I dont see the upgrade at center or the bench.

  • I agree but Scott’s management ability is not his only problem, it’s his entire system, the system is so predictable that a college team could give him problems, it is weak offensively and defensively, I’m a fan of Scott as a player but as a coach, neh!!!

  • When has Scott used a center as an inside out presence ever? Not Jersey, NO or Cleveland. That’s not how he works his Princeton.

    I’ll agree the results are bad right now but that does not change the fact that Hibbert was an upgrade coming in.

    We can’t have it both ways in complaining. Everyone cried about lack of rim protection the last few seasons. Hibbert is trying to give us that and everyone was happy about his statement on not worrying about offensive touches. More for others more offensively minded.

    Bottom line, we’re healthy and should not be this bad.

  • How many fans do you know will pay their hard earned money to see a team lose, even tho they want to see Kobe they also want to see the team win !!!!

  • I’ll just say this, every game I hope the team begins to perform. I’ll gladly eat crow if Scott’s methods prove me wrong.

  • Completely agree but on the road, it’s win, win for the fans when we lose. I’m curious how many think tank fans show up to games? O_O

  • Lakers are selling out on the road just to see Kobe. The home games will be a bigger deal once the season is closer to ending. Kobe’s retirement is a little minny cash cow around the league. The NBA and the Lakers will take full advantage.

  • Nance should come in the game and almost immediately either try to dunk the ball or B block someones shot. and i dont mean an easy dunk i wanna see you throw it down with authority the same way you blocked jahlil okafor!(summer league) or posterized festus ezili….
    if you do that as soon as you enter the game.
    to start the other team will be thrown off their game plan. they will lose focus and be thinking about you, not what they supposed to do.
    its a strategy to bring energy, and also mess with the other teams head with some controlled choas.
    anyone have any thoughts about this or maybe another idea? 🙂

  • Daryl I dont see where anyone could have thought this team would be better than last year even being healthy. Not enough talent, too many rookies. Magic said it best before the draft. ” Laker fans get ready for another tough year.” And here we are IDK if anyone had the Lakers higher than 28th on the preseason rankings.

  • i like Nance but i agree he did say some dumb crap….
    but dont we all? im sure you and i both have said alot worse to our close personal friends. its only different with Kobe because everything goes public.
    i feel bad for Kobe but your right about Nance he posted it on twitter! basically for the whole world to see. hes gotta make it up to Kobe somehow and really sincerely mean it.
    Im sure he does but he has to show it. Kobe is going to retire soon so now is the perfect time to create a bond and apologize with Kobe. am i wrong?

  • golden state is not giving up on draymond green or klay thompson dude.
    keep dreaming…..we should keep anthony brown nance jr russell clarkson and randle. bc most likely we wont even get a good pick. 2nd round maybe for a center. or we get a backup PG for dangelo and bring up robert upshaw.
    we should drop sacre kelly huertas. and trade bass. we could keep lou williams hes good unless we trade for kevin durant or someone like that. lou isnt too bad especially in his role off the bench or running point guard or being a shooting guard attacking lou is well rounded.

  • we all thought we would be a playoff team right now.
    look at our lineup man.
    from top to bottom its stacked. we should definately be better than last years team.
    if we forget about ben simmons we seriously need to start winning games…….maybe tanking is a bad thing it wont teach these young rookies a winning mindset. it could teach them that losing is okay and its not!

  • the Lakers 3 core guys(Russell Randle and Clarkson)
    even bob sacre will know this!

  • How can anyone have thought we’d be worse than last season? Hibbert has been an all-star. Lou was sixth man of the year. Bass is a solid back up PF. Randle is top 15 in double doubles. Clarkson improved over last season. Nick Young came out the gates on fire as our most accurate shooter and is surprisingly playing much better defense. Nance is an experienced rookie who plays his role fairly well. Russell is showing he’s better than most thought when the leash is off. BTW, Russell surpassed Mudiay and is only behind KP, JO & KAT on the rookie latter.

    Why has Black and Kelly regressed? Everyone was excited about Huertas after seeing his pre-season exploits. Man this team is flat out underachieving.

    Even Mitch admitted he’s disappointed in how bad we are. We’re healthy man.

  • This is the reason why the GOAT tank commander /coach should play and develop the rookies ASAP to entice these upcoming FA’s that we have a nice young core same as what the the BUCKS did last year. The BUCKS made enough noise last year for other FA’s to consider them. But still they should get rid of the coach because nobody would like to play for a coach who only knows is hustle, energy & to man up. Sometimes it also takes more strategy to win.

  • Do you know Russell is #4 in most number of minutes being played by a rookie? And outside of Towns and Porzingus NO rookie is ending games?

    Maybe you have unrealistic expectations.

  • Randle and Russell are getting 30 minutes per game as rookies… what more do you want?

  • Not saying he won’t be a key contributor but don’t see him being the 1st or 2nd best option down the road. if the Lakers keep the pick and acquire a player like Simmons, he wouldn’t be a good fit with this roster since he happens to be a solid rebounder, scores most of his points inside the paint, has no jumper and can play bully ball too (sound familiar). Not leaving out that he’s a ball dominant point forward/facilitator.

  • Not athletic, more so Ben Simmons will be more Blake Griffin-esh with Lebron qualities as a point forward. Time will tell but it will be brought up like always right! o_o

  • Your tunnel vision for Scott is impressive. And yet you still think Scott will be fired, and type the same things over and over like you have an OCD or creepy compulsion.

    And sadly, your words always seem to be proven wrong in hindsight.

  • With the development and obvious growth of Randle and Russell in the last 2 weeks, the obvious improvement in Kobe’s game, and the articles starting to say Scott’s methods are working, maybe you should skip a mean cause you gonna be eating a lot of crow.

  • One of Lou’s preferred inconsistent choices is Lou who’s gotten thrown in for Russell or JC, even if both are having a good game at the time. Metta’s also been subbed in during awkward moments at times while Nance looks to be getting starting minutes until next month.

  • He’s likely the best player available, that’s what you draft in a rebuild. You figure out the fit or one of them becomes a trade chip.

  • Yup, one of them will become a trade chip then if they keep Simmons. Too many ball dominant players on the roster to try to build around.

  • Hibbert was an allstar 2 years ago. Lou was 6th man but he shot a very low Percentage from the field. Randle had a total of 14 minutes of NBA experience to start the season. Yeah Clarkson got better but he wasn’t going to be able to carry this team. You lost me with the Russell take. Russell just barely cracked NBA.com Rookie Ladder top 10 for the first time. Mudiay is ahead of him on that same list. Please dont make me address Black and Kelly. I mean come on I dont know a line up they would crack in the NBA at this point. Of course Mitch is disappointed. The fans are upset and he’s in full PR mode. But he knew this team wasn’t going anywhere. Again I ask you. What made you think this team was an upgrade over last years team?

  • KB your kidding me right? Adding 4 rookies to your rotation with Randle having all of 14 minutes of NBA experience under his belt. Along with a center in Hibbert who the Pacers gave away for a pack of gum? Our Free agent splash was a Low shooting Percentage 6th man of the year and Brandon Bass? That’s stacked?

  • But he was calling him a rapist not too long ago…Okay Nance turn it down a notch with the butt kissing.

  • Anyone hear JClarkson+____ for Jahlil Okafor & protected 3 pick+______ ??????

  • Randle is athletic but choses to be one dimensional with the bull rush. Randle has the same vertical as Griffin and is quicker. Griffin was more polished given his two seasons at Oklahoma. Much more prepared for the NBA game.

  • Justice Winslow gets more minutes. Again I don’t care about minutes. Usage rate.

  • Nice passes from D’angelo. I like the way our team is playing today. Playing like a TEAM.

  • You guys saw the news who says T Jones is on the block? I really like the guy. I think he can play at SF. He’s long, has skills, is a good rebounder, improving shooter. I think we can steal him from the Rockets.

  • I know Bucks is not that thing, but we have the potential to play like that. Maybe we can win some games 30% of them will be good

  • Randle needs to know that the backboard is his friend currently. Especially if he can’t shoot night in and out.

  • True but hopefully JC works on his floor leadership/vision b/c if they so happen to keep the pick they’d really need unselfish players as opposed to ball dominant.

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