Cleveland Cavaliers: Larry Nance Jr. will get off to a good start

Cleveland Cavaliers big Larry Nance Jr. celebrates in-game. (Photo by Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports)
Cleveland Cavaliers big Larry Nance Jr. celebrates in-game. (Photo by Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports) /

Larry Nance Jr. has continually gotten better for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Larry Nance Jr. looks to be the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ best all-around big, and last season, had 10.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals per outing. He’d seem likely to get some spot starts, sure, but regardless, Nance should again play in the 25-26 minutes per game-range next season I’d imagine.

Nance, for instance, showed a much-improved handle last season and took another step forward in the catch-and-shoot realm, as he hit 35.2 percent from three-point range. Nance placed in the 65th percentile last season on spot-ups, per Synergy Sports, on a frequency of 24.7 percent.

Nance, although the frequency wasn’t high at 7.9 percent, did also place in the 92nd percentile in post-ups last season, per Synergy.

So to me, while of course the Cavs have had a long layoff, with how Nance has continually improved in his time with Cleveland, and with how he’ll have been able to work on his game so extensively, I firmly believe he’ll again build on how his past season went.

Let’s also keep in mind that in his last 19 games active, Nance had 12.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals per contest leading into the novel coronavirus-induced hiatus/ultimately end of 2019-20 for Cleveland.

Nance will get off to a good start next season for the Cavs.

With Nance’s progression as a scorer/catch-and-shoot player, and his much-improved handle making him a more dangerous driving threat, I’d expect him to make his imprint on games in his minutes-share from the jump in 2020-21.

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I’d think Nance will be mostly a bench contributor, sure, but the Cavaliers will be getting him the ball to make plays for others as a key playmaking option from the elbows/on the perimeter.

Nance is one of Cleveland’s best passers, and his chemistry with pieces such as Darius Garland, Collin Sexton and Kevin Porter Jr. led to a number of quality two-man game sequences as last season progressed.

That was the case even more so leading into the hiatus, too, and thanks to his growth from a handling perspective, that, along with his defensive capabilities, played into him even looking to be a viable big-lineup 3 man option.

And Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who took over in that role post-All-Star leading into the hiatus, seems to be in favor of using Nance at the 3 at times again next season. That’s with seemingly Kevin Love at the 4 and Andre Drummond/JaVale McGee at the 5.

Training camp invitee Thon Maker, who could very well end up making the roster, at the 4 at times with Drummond/McGee at the 5 could be an option in spurts with Nance at the 3 on occasion, even.

In any case, it seems evident that Nance should be a key offensive focal point in his minutes-share on the floor, and he should fit so well as a passer/handoff initiator in sequences with Dylan Windler and Damyean Dotson some, in particular.

And given the work he’s reportedly put in over what’s been an extended offseason, and with how’s continually improved, I see Nance killing it from the jump for the Cavs.

From a secondary transition standpoint, Cleveland should be featuring Nance as a grab-and-go threat after defensive rebounds once again, too. That should mesh especially well with the likes of Isaac Okoro, a transition force, and Sexton.

I’d imagine Nance and JaVale McGee, even with McGee being a recent trade acquisition, having a nice transition chemistry also, as McGee is such a capable rim-to-rim threat in the open floor, even at his 7-foot, 270-pound size.

Moreover, based on his growth in recent seasons and with how he closed out last campaign, to go with Bickerstaff seeming to be willing to use him in a number of ways, Cavs fans should should expect Nance to get off to a good start in 2020-21.

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And I’m looking forward to seeing that play out for Jr. and the Wine and Gold.