Cleveland Cavaliers: It will take a bit before Larry Nance Jr. is fully himself

Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images
Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images /

Larry Nance Jr. returned from a seven-game absence for the Cleveland Cavaliers in a Wednesday win at the Charlotte Hornets, and the same was the case for Jarrett Allen. Allen had missed the previous eight games for Cleveland because of a concussion/the league’s concussion protocol.

In Nance’s case, he was dealing with an especially rough bout of issues involved with a mystery illness in which he first fell ill on March 29. That was before the then-shorthanded Cavs were beaten down by one of the NBA’s best teams, the Utah Jazz, on the road that night.

Nance over the course of a week-plus or so reportedly lost nearly 20 pounds, but has gradually recovered. And Jr. in due time should regain that weight, and get fully back into game shape fairly soon, hopefully.

Nance in the two games since being back from that absence doesn’t appear to be himself at this point just yet, though, and understandably so. But I would think he’ll be plenty fine soon; albeit fans need to temper their expectations for likely a bit before that.

It will be a bit before Nance is fully back for the Cavs, if you will.

Nance in his two games back for Cleveland hasn’t looked like himself in his burn, and that’s to be expected. In that Charlotte game, Nance had only five points, two rebounds and an assist and was just 1-of-7 from the field.

Defensively, he did seem mostly on-time with his rotations, though, had four steals and was competent on-ball, which was a plus in his 20 minutes played. But did two unfortunate turnovers that were ones where just did not appear to have his typical urgency with the ball, and while they were only two, were uncharacteristic ones.

In the following outing on Thursday, in the scoring sense, Nance had three points on a made 3, however, was only 1-of-3 overall, and wasn’t nearly as productive as a secondary playmaker as he normally is in getting things moving meaningfully in his 24 minutes of burn.

He did have five rebounds and two steals, mostly regarding the defensive end, though, albeit he did appear a tad late at times with his help in a rough loss against the Golden State Warriors.

Considering the prior rapid weight loss, and likely fatigue element to come in his initial burn back, one can understand that having been the case, particularly in the second leg of a back-to-back slate.

I would still think that will be how things are involving Nance for two or so more games, such as on Saturday at the Chicago Bulls and on Monday at the Detroit Pistons, and perhaps a game or so following. You can’t simulate NBA game shape, let alone coming back from that sort of ailment.

For Jr., fans need to give him some time here to be fully himself for the Wine and Gold, given what he went through with the illness. It will be a few games before Nance, whose often started at the 4 with Love having missed most of the season, is really back.

Jr., who has had 9.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and a terrific 1.9 steals per contest so far this season, should still be impactful defensively in these next few games I would think, and as a screener, but there will still be some rust. And offensively, that could be the case still as he gets himself back.

In the mean time, hopefully the likes of Dean Wade and to some degree regarding other lineups perhaps, Taurean Prince, keep getting their share of burn, given their shooting capabilities, particularly with Nance still getting himself right.

Next. Prince is feeling it as shooter. dark

I would expect Nance to get his bearings/legs fully under him soon enough for the Cavs, though.