LeBron James’ arrival to LA is bound to have major effects on the Los Angeles Lakers. Almost no one on the team has played with anyone even close to the caliber of player James is meaning there will be a huge adjustment period particularly for the young core on the team.
Fortunately for them, they have plenty of people to give them advice. The Lakers have loaded up on veterans to fill out the roster but some of the most sage wisdom given to the team might come from those not donning the purple and gold.
In a piece penned by ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Ohm Youngmisuk, Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr. revealed that he has spoken to some of his former Lakers teammates (in particular Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma) about the pressure of playing with James and gave one particularly useful piece of advice:
“Yeah, I talked to J-Hart about it, Kuz a little bit,” Nance told ESPN about playing with James. “He is demanding. He just demands the same level of professionalism and effort that he gives to his teammates, which [is] respect. But the biggest thing I told them is that, on the court, be ready at all times. Like, if you have your hands down and you are open, you will get hit in the face with the basketball. Seriously.”
He told his good friend Hart to be ready for the scrutiny that comes with being James’ teammate.
“Yeah, you got to have thick skin,” Nance said.
“Don’t get hit in the face with the basketball” is honestly really good advice for someone playing basketball so kudos to Larry for imparting that wisdom.
Sarcasm aside, it’s really a helpful tool for the young Lakers that they know a couple of people (Nance and Jordan Clarkson) who played half a season of basketball with the King. Even with all the Cavs’ issues, James led them to the Finals. That kind of experience is invaluable for young players and while Kuzma, Hart and the others won’t truly understand the pressure until they step out on the court with the best player in the world, it helps to be prepared ahead of time.