Larry Nance Jr. big-to-big feeds should be productive for the Cavs

Cleveland Cavaliers Larry Nance Jr. and Kevin Love (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers Larry Nance Jr. and Kevin Love (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Larry Nance Jr. is one of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ best passers, and he’ll again show that next season.

Larry Nance Jr. is clearly one of the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ most impactful players. He is one of the club’s best defenders that has some versatility, is a heady team defender and is a constant two-way rebounding presence.

On the offensive end in the scoring perspective, it’s been a pleasure to see his progression as a spot-up threat from three-point land, too, and in 2019-20, he hit a new-career-best 35.2 percent from downtown on a decent 2.8 attempts per outing.

Additionally, while the volume wasn’t a whole lot at 7.9 percent, Nance did show post-up progression during this now-past season, and placed in the 92nd percentile in post-up scoring situations, per Synergy Sports. Overall, Nance again had another career-high in scoring with 10.1 points per game in 2019-20, and this next season, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect him to have a career-best in scoring once again, too.

That said, Nance is such a good passing big, and his feel/vision in that realm leads to quality looks for shooters such as Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Kevin Love and others with him operating out of the high post/on the wing. And with Nance’s improved handle he displayed during this now-past season, he should be even more capable as a playmaker given that.

So while Nance should of course make his share of extra passes to shooters, and some to cutters, I’d imagine Nance big-to-big feeds this season should be something to watch to help Cleveland’s offense when he’s in there, in particular.

Nance big-to-big feeds should be productive for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

I previously touched on those big-to-big feeds a bit in the link above, but it seemed relevant to further drive that home more here. With Andre Drummond reportedly highly likely to pick up his $28.8 million player option, you would think he’ll be back and play a key role as Cleveland’s starting 5, and Nance should get his share of minutes with Drummond in there.

That’s especially given that Nance did show some viability to play the 3 position post-All-Star break leading into the novel coronavirus-induced hiatus and what would ultimately the end of the year for Cleveland, and with Nance’s shooting being improved.

Anyhow, when those two are in there at least at the 4/5, I’d look for Nance and Dre to play off each other better as next season progresses. That should obviously lead to low-post entries from Nance to Drummond, but I could very well foresee Nance lobs passes, of which he is capable of hitting at times, to Drummond.

With Nance being more capable on-ball now, too, that could lead to quality looks for Drummond after Nance drives/dishes and/or dump-offs. A similar thing could play out involving Nance hitting Tristan Thompson as well, if Thompson is back, feasibly via one-year deal.

And in terms of that possibility, per a recent report from’s Chris Fedor (subscription required), one of Fedor’s sources said that is ’50-50,'” so we’ll see; TT could still seemingly be playing elsewhere, though.

In any case, I’d think that Nance should create a solid amount of easy looks for Drummond, and with spacers around Nance/Dre, those two could end up having good chemistry from a high-low standpoint.

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Also, if opponents look to double, if the timing is right, Nance, a high IQ player and instinctive cutter, could receive quick dishes back from Drummond, too, on occasion, which would bring an added wrinkle. Nance, a legitimate spot-up threat now, could be a kickout target a bit for Drummond as well, for example.

Plus, as was briefly hit on, Larry Nance Jr. dishes/swings to Love for catch-and-shoots will have their due, and with them going into their third full season together as teammates, the chemistry/timing of those looks should be on-point.

I’d imagine that after some cross screening off-ball, too, though, Nance, with his recognition, should be able to hit Love accordingly inside for good looks there and/or for mid-post touches if the chances present themselves.

Moreover, Nance getting the bigs involved, too, when he’s out there should ease the burden some on perimeter pieces, and while his 2.2 assists per game in 2019-20 didn’t necessarily illuminate it, he consistently made passes that led to scoring/productive swings often.

In Nance’s last 15 games, he had a better 3.2 helpers per contest as well. Him helping getting other bigs involved to me will be meaningful, too, and the other opportunities for players such as Windler could open up off-ball if weak side defenders start to cheat to Drummond if Nance is feeding him and/or Love.

Plus, if the Cleveland Cavaliers went with him in the 2020 NBA Draft, I could very well foresee Nance and USC big Onyeka Okongwu, who is a gifted passer in his own right, having a formidable 4-5 two-man game at times in stretches.

So, anyway, it’s evident that Nance big-to-big feeds should be a nice wrinkle for the Cavaliers next season, and would appear to be productive with those leading to high percentage looks, and that could open up perimeter players as games progress.

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Granted, dishes to Sexton/KPJ will be there from Nance, by and large, but don’t discount Nance two-man games seemingly improving more with bigs as next season goes along. And with Nance being a smart decision-maker, I’ll be looking forward to seeing that play out.