There were a lot of options on the board when the Lakers were on the clock with the #27 pick. Several of the players we looked at in our series of options to be selected with those late picks, in fact. But with the pick, the Lakers went in a direction no one saw coming by selecting Wyoming PF Larry Nance Jr.
From DraftExpress’ write up on Nance from after the combine:
In four years at Wyoming, Larry NanceJr. put together quite a resume. After fighting through mononucleosis in February and amidst his lifelong battle with Crohn’s Disease, Nance was awarded MWC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, along with being named to the All-MWC First Team and MWC All-Defensive Team. Nance led the Cowboys to a 25-10 record, a MWC Championship and their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 13 years. Upon the conclusion of his senior season, Nance became the first Wyoming player since Theo Ratliff 20 years ago to receive an invitation to the NBA Draft Combine. After turning heads at the Combine, Nance may now have a chance of hearing his name called on draft night.
DraftExpress had him ranked 54th on their list of prospects, or about twice as low as he was drafted. That, of course, doesn’t sound that appealing. However, the Lakers aren’t drafting his DraftExpress ranking, they’re drafting a player. And based on his skill set, he’s an interesting choice for a couple of reasons.
First, Nance is a nice athlete with good size and length. Standing 6’8.5″ and with a 7’1.5″ wingspan, Nance has good physical tools to play PF with some versatility to defend on the wing. He has decent skill and showed enough polish to be a good post player while also flashing a good mid-range jumper. He also flashed nice feel for the game, some fine passing ability, and overall good activity all over the floor. This all led to some nice production at Wyoming in his Junior (and final) season:
Larry Nance Jr. (6-8, 235) averaged 16.1 ppg (51% FG’s), 7.2 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 2.5 apg + spg in 34.9 mpg at Wyoming last year.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) June 26, 2015
And while picking him as high as they did, seems like a bit of a reach, not everyone was so surprised he was taken where he was:
Larry Nance Jr. an interesting choice. Versatile. Great athlete. High basketball IQ. Raptors looked at him at 20. He dominated workouts.
— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 26, 2015
Of course, Nance “dominating” workouts won’t quiet critics. Only his play on the floor and development as a prospect will do that. But, as Eric Pincus pointed out on twitter, Nance has had to overcome a fair amount in his life to get where he has. He’s dealt with an ACL injury and battled Chrons disease, but found a way to be productive in college and now get drafted. Considering those things and his bloodline (his father was former Sun and Cavalier Larry Nance), I have hopes he’ll continue to fight and prove he belongs. Time will tell.
Until then, though, enjoy some an interview and workout video as well as highlights of Nance from his time at Wyoming.
Gotta say he looks pretty good in those vids. However it kind of killed me that we passed on Hunter who was just sitting there at 27 and taken by the Celts the very next pick. Granted, he’d be the #4 or 5 guard, but he or Kobe could also play SF. I do like Stanford SF Brown at #34. Not a great athlete or creator but he’s got a beautiful shot and plays hard. Just below the tier of talented going in the mid to late 1st round.
Craig W. says
This was really out of left field, but, looking at the general talent level left at #27 this looks like we could have something. We certainly didn’t need to move down to select Brown here and selecting a SG would really have been kind of stupid.
Since I read Larry Nance Jr. was a fast riser in draft stock, I guess that would explain why we thought we could get Brown at #34, but might miss Nance. The real issue would seem to be we are committed to him for 4 years minimum. Since he is a junior, I would expect him to contribute sooner, rather than later.
Did he come in and work out for the Lakers?
The philosophy from the standpoint of the Lakers was likely that they needed to get value out of their late 1st rounder (as opposed to highest upside). I personally was rooting for Looney or Hunter w/ the pick, but Mitch saw all of those guys up close, and determined that Nance had the highest likelihood of being a solid role player in the league and therefore worthy of his contract (vs. higher potential for swing and a miss w/ Hunter/Looney). Looks like a good kid w/ a great attitude; looking forward to seeing him in summer league.
This appears to be the weak pick for the Lakers tonight, but I can see the overall logic behind the three guys we selected. My guess at this point is that Love is coming on board; if that happens, we’ve got a really well-rounded group of young prospects (on paper, anyway).
Craig W. says
I think the key here was his being a junior and having more film on his college games. He should take less coaching to reach some sort of rotation status. All their picks are between 6’5″ and 6’9″ and have very long arms. The change to interchangeability and defense is on.
I think the Lakers will try to create a young version of showtime. Nance is Rambis. Get Cosins, please. Durant could be our Worthy.
Renato Afonso says
If he becomes a solid rotation player I’ll be happy. It does seem that his low post pivot foot rotations are somewhat slow, even reminescent of an old man’s game, but he can improve on that. We just need to wait and see…
Do not discount the adversity he’s worked through already. I didn’t know he had Crohn’s disease. It’s a very individualized affliction (mine is fairly controlled) but tends to leave people in a permanent “75%-90% of optimum” when it’s moderate or worse. The treatment can also tire the patient and leave him or her more susceptible to infection. Quite a story.
Tim A. says
I was suprised, but I really like this pick.
A lot of us coveted versatile defenders like Justin Anderson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at this spot, but those were probably always pipe dreams as each was always a couple spots ahead of #27 in the mocks.
Really like that Mitch went with two seasoned young players who are long, can shoot and can defend with #27 and #34. As much as this draft was about choosing an exciting, perimeter-based direction for the franchise, I think Mitch has also made a statement that the Lakers are done relying on cheap journeymen to fill out the roster until Kobe retires. Basketball competency (not potential) and apositionality are also key parts of the new direction.
Man, is that a refreshing change.
Welcome, Junior Nance.
@ Tim, hopefully Kobe is the forgiving type. Otherwise this may not work out. Awaiting approval of a report I posted here pertaining to him and the pick.
It doesn’t matter if Kobe is forgiving or not. They had to have known about the tweet and picked him anyway.
Darius Soriano says
If you want to talk about the Nance tweet, do it somewhere else. This site is, and always will be, a place where the tabloid stuff just isn’t a priority or a topic worth discussing. If that’s your thing, you’ll find plenty of other sites where that talk will run wild. Thanks.
I’m fairly happy with Lance. I read some reports bemoaning not taking Looney or Hunter but Lance seems to have fewer obvious down sides in his scouting. The only thing i saw on tape was that he has a weird shooting form with his elbow pointed out. He gets it to go in but I would wonder how you “fix” it to improve upon it.
Yeah I no nothing about Nance, but heard he had amazing workouts and not just for us. The Spurs and Raptors almost pulled the trigger with their first round picks so either the Lakers fell for the smoke screens or he was gone by the 34th pick. The guy jumps out the gym and that is after an ACL injury. He is a born athlete and a hustle player. Every team would like him even if it is only for practice or when you need those junkyard skills. Plus he has a decent shot. As for Hunter, we know has can shoot but his shot selection is so bad that he was a poor 3 point shooter this year. He reminds me of JR Smith only without the ability to drive. He will only ever come off the bench in my opinion, but that is all Nance will do either. So kind of just what would you prefer, defense and hustle or shooting and well more shooting. Looney with his hip will miss the year and I think that’s why the Lakers passed. Think in 3 years Lonney will be the best player of them but not by much and not enough to lose a year on.
Thomas Rickard says
Nance is a great pick, he’s been a thorn in the side for UNLV, MW players get a bad rap although he’s not a Lenard I won’t be surprised if he turns out like Clarkson, a steal
Could be a slightly smaller version of Blake Griffin, see the comparisons below:
Height: Griffin 6′ 10″ Nance 6′ 9″
Weight: Griffin 248 Nance 230
Wingspan: Griffin 6′ 11.25″ Nance 7′ 1.5″
Standing Reach: Griffin 8′ 9″ Nance 9′
No step vertical: Griffin 32″ Nance 29″
Max vertical: Griffin 35.5″ Nance 37.5″
Given the above, once Nance bulks up a bit, he matches up with Griffin quite well, as his height deficiency by 1″ is more than made up by his 3″ edge in standing reach & 2.25″ edge in wingspan. From an athleticism standpoint, both are top-notch. I was surprised by the Lakers picking Nance at #27 as well. But after doing a little research and looking at this pre-draft workout, he may be able to contribute right away in playing either the 3 or 4, or if the Lakers go small he may be able to play the 5, a la Draymond Green of GS.
He seems to be a good pick. His attitude is what I like most. Think back to the guys who didn’t ask for anything and simply came to play every game.