Larry Nance Jr was one of the surprise bonuses for the L.A. Lakers this season as the 27th overall pick in the 2015 draft provided some highlight dunks alongside a few double-doubles.
Much like Jordan Clarkson the season before him, little was expected of the rookie. However, the 23-year-old power forward surpassed all expectations to become a key part of the Purple and Gold's young core.
Now that Luke Walton has arrived at the Staples Center, Nance Jr expects to see plenty of growth in his game that he showed snippets of at this year's Summer League.
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In an interview with Mike Bresnahan of Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Nance spoke about his shooting during the tournament in Las Vegas, and said to expect more once the season begins:
"That was just a little trial run, that’s what Summer League is," Nance Jr said. "It went pretty well, I thought I shot it alright, rushed a few, but that’s definitely something you can expect to see during the season.
The Lakers are bound to play with a higher tempo this season and stretching the floor for their talented guards is likely. If Nance Jr can indeed become a perimeter threat, the Lakers may well evolve into a side in the same vain as the Golden State Warriors.
The progress of D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram will have a major factor in that as well, but it's possible Randle and Nance Jr could see more time together on the court this season if Walton deploys the Dubs' 'small ball' tactics and slots one of them in at the pivot spot.
Either way, the Lakers are looking a whole lot better than the franchise that finished bottom of the Western Conference under Byron Scott last season. How far can Nance Jr, and thus, the Lakers go this season?