The Lakers will be in a peculiar situation at their power forward position heading into training camp. They have two really good players that can easily make an impact in the starting line up in Julius Randle and Larry Nance, Jr. The latter proved to everyone that he has the necessary skills to thrive under Luke Walton’s system after an impressive performance in the summer league. It was a pleasant surprise for everyone to see him knocking down jumpers from deep and handling the ball in transition. Nance Jr.’s performance gave fans something interesting to ponder, should he start over Julius Randle?
Nance, Jr.’s performance shouldn’t be a threat to Randle’s role with the Lakers, but it should be an optimistic sign that the latter can improve just like the former had shown in summer league. The more interesting question when dealing with the two talented power forwards is whether or not they could play well together. A combination of the two on the court at the same time would pose an interesting dynamic in replicating the Warrior’s small ball line up.
In an interview with Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders Podcast, Nance, Jr. had some interesting proposals about him and Julius Randle.
“I think you’ll see me and Julius playing a lot of that Draymond Green type of role.” Nance, Jr. said. “That decision-making big. The one thing I hope and looking forward to doing is playing in the same unit as Julius.”
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to experiment with Nance, Jr. at the five and Randle at the four. They would offer the Lakers a lot of versatility on both sides of the ball. Nance, Jr. had proven that he can knock down shots from deep, shooting a modest 33 percent in summer league. Randle is known for his handle and brute strength in transition. The pairing would make an interesting dynamic for the Lakers.
“You talk about fast basketball,” said Nance, Jr.” That right there would be just an athletic four and five that can move and defend. I’m really eager and excited to see how he (Luke) utilizes both of our strengths.”
The Lakers could go into fall with both players on the bench if they decide to go with the veteran front court of Mozgov and Deng. They may decide to let Nance, Jr. and Randle build some chemistry playing together off the bench. Regardless of whom the Lakers start at the power forward position next season, they have a great and prosperous pairing in Julius Randle and Larry Nance, Jr.