Bleacher Report is right: Larry Nance Jr. is relative bargain for Cavs

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) /

Bleacher Report was right in highlighting how Larry Nance Jr. is a relative bargain for the Cleveland Cavaliers, given all he does for them.

At this point, it’s evident that Larry Nance Jr. is going to continue on an upward trajectory for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is coming off a campaign in which he had career-bests for the second year in a row in scoring with 10.1 points per game, and in three-point shooting hit rate, at 35.2 percent.

Nance working himself into being a viable perimeter shooter off-the-catch has been great to see, and him having a much-improved handle last season was, too.

The latter even enabled him to demonstrate how he’s a legitimate option for the Cavs in coming years as a 3 man as well at times, as KJG’s Amadou Sow pointed out. In today’s league, that was a pleasant surprise post-All-Star break leading into the season’s novel coronavirus-induced hiatus, and what would ultimately be Cleveland’s last games of 2019-20.

Additionally, Nance proved to take positive strides in his post game this now-past season for Cleveland, in large part related to post-up fadeaway touch, further proving how he’s continued to show growth in recent years.

As Cleveland Cavaliers fans are well-aware of, though, Nance contributes in a variety of ways other than scoring when he’s on the floor.

This past season, he had 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals per outing, along with that aforementioned 10.1 points. Leading into the hiatus, Nance was playing especially well, too.

More from King James Gospel

In his last 15 games, he averaged 12.9 points and hit 34.7 percent of his 3.3 three-point attempts per outing, to go with 7.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.5 steals in a bigger minutes-share of 31.5 minutes, per

Clearly, Nance has proven he is a highly capable secondary playmaker for a big, similarly to Kevin Love, is still a constant lob/rolling threat, a really effective rebounder on both ends, and is a much-improved on-ball player.

Plus, he is still one of the Cavs’ best overall defenders that is capable of switching out on to perimeter players when needed. Also, his great team defensive instincts have often led to deflections and steals when he’s on the floor.

Anyway, while Nance is not exactly on a rookie or near-minimum deal with the Cavs in coming years, he is still not making anything close to outrageous, considering he’s proven to be Cleveland’s best all-around big.

Nance, who signed a four-year, $44.5 million contract extension in October of 2018, is set to make $11.7 million, $10.7 million, and $9.7 million before being set to be an unrestricted free agent in the 2023 offseason. Those contract numbers are far from hampering for the Cavs.

Along those lines, Bleacher Report was spot-on in highlighting how the versatile Nance is a relative bargain for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In a recent piece involving him ranking the best value contract on every NBA team, Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey chose Nance in relation to the Cavaliers.

We’ll mention his qualifiers first for the list briefly, and for the league-average salary reference, that was courtesy of Basketball Reference and seemingly h/t CNBC’s Tom Huddleston Jr.

"“In determining the best value contract on each of the league’s 30 teams, there were only two hard-and-fast rules:No players on first-round rookie-scale contracts.No one who is making more than double the league-average salary ($7.7 million) in 2019-20.”"

Bailey touched on how despite Nance having the fourth-highest salary among Cavs last season, also including Andre Drummond, that the former “led the team in win shares and had another statistically versatile campaign in 2019-20.”

Bailey then expounded on his take, and this again further highlights how Nance is a relative bargain for the Cavs in coming years (for context, the statistics cited were from Basketball Reference).

"“This season, Nance averaged 10.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.4 threes and 1.4 steals per 75 possessions. No one in the league matched or exceeded all four marks. Take out the steals qualifier and the group includes only Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, Joel Embiid, Kevin Love, Karl-Anthony Towns and Nikola Vucevic.Nance’s profile likely won’t reach the level of most of the stars listed there, but those wide-ranging contributions are part of why he’s never had a negative net rating swing.”"

Bailey really was right/hit the nail on the head here in how he emphasized how Nance helps the Wine and Gold in a myriad of ways on both ends of the floor.

Moreover, while ranking the three best contracts on the Cavs (feasibly with then-Drummond in mind as well), I previously ranked Nance’s contract as the third-best on Cleveland. The other two contracts, however, involved two key players still on rookie deals with the Cleveland Cavaliers in Kevin Porter Jr. and Collin Sexton, so it’s somewhat in the same realm.

Anyhow, I’m excited to see how Nance’s game can continue to evolve, particularly on the offensive end, in the 2020-21 season for the Cavs.

Bailey was right in again stressing how given all Nance does on both ends, he’s seemingly a relative bargain for Cleveland in coming years.

Larry Nance Jr. is the Cavs' most important bench player for 2020-21. dark. Next

Jr. is truly the Cavs’ best all-around big, and to me, with what he’s shown in recent years, he should start more next season as well.