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Larry Nance, Jr.'s dog is a better defender than half of the Lakers' roster

This puppy has a nose for the ball.

The Los Angeles Lakers are the worst defensive team in the NBA, ranking dead-last in defensive efficiency by giving up 108.4 points per 100 possessions, over two points worse than the 29th ranked Phoenix Suns (106.2). A difference of 2.2 points may not seem like much, but for context that is the same as the difference between the Suns and the 18th ranked Washington Wizards.

As if you couldn't tell just by watching them, the numbers back up that the Lakers atrocious defense is indeed an outlier.

One of the few players who has actually helped this seasons has, surprisingly, been rookie power forward Larry Nance, Jr. Even with the handicap of spending significant time in the defensively horrible Lakers' starting lineup with Jordan Clarkson, Kobe Bryant, Roy Hibbert, and Lou Williams, the stats still say the team is better on that end with Nance, Jr. on the floor. The Lakers give up 106.5 points per 100 possessions with Nance, Jr. on the floor as compared to 109.4 with him on the bench. For all of the team's defensive problems, the 27th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft is not one of them.

It appears defense is a core value of Nance, Jr.'s household, and something he is trying to pass along to his new puppy, Reggie (via Nance, Jr.'s Instagram):

1st team all defense (Tony Allen voice) Heard Air-bud needed a replacement?? #ReggieNance

A video posted by Larry Nance Jr (@larrydn7) on

In case that embed isn't working for you, here is a gif of the video Nance, Jr. posted of his dog with the caption "1st team all defense (Tony Allen voice) Heard Air-bud needed a replacement?? #ReggieNance"

You might remember Reggie Nance from a video Nance, Jr. posted earlier this season of his dog celebrating the rookie's new role in the starting lineup by throwing on a shirsey:

So to recap- this dog:

1) clearly plays first-team level defense.

2) has an affinity for basketball jerseys.

Could he be the solution to the Lakers' issues defensively? Hear me out here. I believe the Lakers still have their "Air Bud" exception* unused, and thus could use it to go over the cap in order to sign Reggie to a deal. The only possible issue is that the Lakers' current head coach has previously joked about beating dogs to deal with his frustration with losing, so he and Reggie may need to have a pre-signing meeting to clear the air and establish guidelines for a safe work environment.

Other than that, I see no reason this is not a good idea. Make it happen, Mitch.

*Obviously not a real exception

All stats per You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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