Larry Nance Jr. is Cavs’ most important bench player for 2020-2021

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr. brings the ball up the floor. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr. brings the ball up the floor. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

As the Cleveland Cavaliers are not invited to Orlando, their focus now shifts towards next season, and with that in mind, Larry Nance Jr. is clearly their most important bench piece.

After being shipped over from the Los Angeles Lakers alongside Jordan Clarkson in a package deal to come to the Cleveland Cavaliers near the 2018 trade deadline, Larry Nance Jr. has been spectacular ever since he arrived in his role.

As a solid spark off the bench, Nance averaged 10.1 points and 7.3 rebounds this past season. That said, his basic statline numbers do not do enough justice in showing how much he really means for this team. Hustle and effort are two things that describe Nance that I believe most, if not all, can say are true about Nance when it comes to his attributes.

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This past season, Nance also continued to prove he’s a legitimate three-point shooter, all while shooting a career-best 35.2 percent from beyond the arc in 2019-20.

With Nance further proving his legitimacy from three-point range, just how much does it spread the floor out for other guys?

A ton. Cleveland Cavaliers players such as Collin Sexton and Kevin Porter Jr. benefit the most from it, as it enables them to move even more without the ball to create open shots not only for themselves, but for their teammates as well.

With Nance also being a solid guy in the pick-and-roll as a rolling/secondary playmaker presence to boot, the young guards have meshed very well and have been able to get better just by playing alongside a player like Nance.

So does this really make Nance all that important for the Cleveland Cavaliers, then?

Absolutely. Even after the addition of center Andre Drummond near the 2020 trade deadline, there is still plenty of room for Nance to do his thing as a 4/5. Factoring in Kevin Love, Drummond, assuming he’s back, with him reportedly likely to pick up his $28.8 million player option, and Nance, that potential 5 man trio is a luxury that most teams don’t have.

That’s with Love seemingly being able to play the 5 in some instances, and even with the expiring Tristan Thompson seemingly having a high possibility of signing elsewhere. Anyhow, no matter where you are in the game, you can always have a guy with fresh legs in at any time.

Nance also brings a spark that not all guys have. Again, the energy is there. On the offensive boards, on the defensive end of the floor, just about everywhere, and that’s why he’s the Cavs’ most important bench player in 2020-21.

Along those lines, Nance has shown he’s a quality mid-range shooter still as well. His frequency was lower, sure. However, on shots from 15-19 feet out, he shot 55.6 percent, per’s shooting data. He also shot 50.0 percent from shots that ranged anywhere from 16-24 feet.

So what was his favorite spot from deep? The right corner.

Nance was shooting 45.8 percent on three-point attempts from the right corner of the floor pre-novel coronavirus-induced hiatus.

Playing off that, Cleveland Cavaliers veteran guard Matthew Dellavedova, who should be re-signed before next season, and Nance have always had that special connection as well, as 23 of Nance’s shots that came off of assists came from Dellavedova, the most of any other teammate.

Again, while Nance may not have the most outstanding numbers or the ones that jump out at you off of the basic stat sheet, he does way more than just put up the basic box score statline numbers.

He is a team-first guy, as shown by his playmaking/ball movement feel, always provides a spark, and helps lead and teach the young guys. He demonstrates great character off the court as well.

As Porter hopefully transitions into a starting role on the Cleveland Cavaliers early next season, it will be up to Nance to consistently lead the bench unit and provide that big spark as a reserve as the most important player for Cleveland’s bench in 2020-21.

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Again, Nance is a team-first guy that knows his role on the court and in the locker room and will do whatever it takes to put his team in the strongest position to win. His all-around impact is invaluable for the Wine and Gold.