Liar Liar Nance On Fire

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When the Cleveland Cavaliers traded Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and their first round pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.,  the media said the whole point of the trade was to get rid of Thomas and fix the poisoned Cavs locker room.  That was true.  But the media also said that Nance Jr. was nothing more than a throw in to make the contracts even out.  Well that was just a lie.  Liar, liar, Nance on fire!  Nance has literally been on fire since the trade.  He is dunking on everybody.  How 'bout when he embarrassed the entire Plumlee family by putting Mason Plumlee in the hoop and giving him the Shawn Kemp guns?

Monday night he was dunking all over the Pistons while putting up a career high 22 points and 15 rebounds.  He mixed it up by making mid-range jumpers, and added a couple of steals as well.

 

He showed some serious upside in his first career start and made very good use of his extra minutes.  He averaged 9.1 points, 6.9 rebound and 1.4 assists while only playing 21.6 minutes per game for his career.  With more floor time, Nance Jr., who only turned 25 on New Year's Day, could be expected to look just like he did last night.

In his first 2 NBA seasons with the Lakers, he was regarded as nothing more than a high-flyer, a guy who caught lob passes and occasionally dribbled once before attacking the rim.  If he got the ball in the open court with enough space, he just might end somebody's career.  They might as well put Brook Lopez's gravestone right here in the paint of Barclay's Center after this one:

So there's potential there right?  But what is the ceiling for Larry Nance Jr?   Literally speaking, it's probably the next thing he bangs his head on.  He wasn't growing much as a player in L.A. but with a new team in a new city (his Dad's old stomping grounds) I expect to see him excel.  With Tristan Thompson out, Nance Jr. has a role in Cleveland and he just might be the next...  Well, he might be the next Larry Nance.

Larry Nance played 14 seasons in the NBA, 7 with Phoenix and 7 with Cleveland.  He averaged 17.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists with a field goal percentage of .546 for his career.  He was a 3 time All Star and made 3 All Defensive teams.  And he dunked on everybody, even wining the first ever NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1984, beating both Domenique Wilkins and the great Dr. J.

That's a lot to ask out of a player with Larry Nance Jr.'s career numbers.  But look a little deeper.  His Dad didn't average 20 points per game until he was 26 years old and never averaged more than 22.5 in a single season.  Given more minutes with Cleveland, I could see 25 year old Nance Jr. doing exactly what he did Monday night against the Pistons regularly.  If he continues to grow his game offensively and defensively, he could make a few All Star teams in the future and he definitely has the body and athleticism to be an All Defensive team candidate.  And as far as the NBA Dunk Contest?  Larry Jr. should have won it this year after pulling out his Dad's old jersey (and high socks) and doing his signature dunk better than his Dad did it 24 years ago:

That was nice but the one that should have won him the title was better:

So, if Cleveland fans were ever hoping to find the next Larry Nance, who better than Larry Nance?  If this last clip doesn't convince you, nothing will:

I rest my case.

Tim Caldwell