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:
"Hearing my name called next to one of the greatest to ever do it is special and a dream come true" – Larry Nance Jr. on starting #Lakers
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) December 14, 2015
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.