Since leaving ESPN for HBO, well know Boston Celtics aficionado Bill Simmons has almost become an honorary Lakers fan. Like most fans of the purple and gold, Simmons does not think the team's head coach, Byron Scott, is very good at his job. Additionally, the former ESPN commentator believes that D'Angelo Russell was the right choice for the team as the second overall selection in the 2015 NBA draft.
On his weekly Friday podcast, Simmons was asked a reader question about who he thought was "the best non-lottery rookie" in the 2015 class so far, and he gave an answer many Lakers fans would probably agree with.
"I really like Larry Nance, Jr. I think he's good!" Simmons exclaimed. "I find myself watching the Lakers every once in a while, and when they play Nance, and Russell, and Jordan Clarkson, and Randle, it's kind of interesting. I like Nance. So my answer is Nance."
Nance, Jr. is being gradually phased back into the lineup as he recovers from a knee injury, but has impressed for a 27th overall selection in his first year, averaging 5.8 points and 5.8 rebounds to go with precocious defensive instincts and a surprisingly effective jump shot.
Still, Simmons wasn't willing to predict all flowers and rainbows for the rooking going forward, joking that "I still think Kobe is going to, at some point, run Larry Nance, Jr. over in his car in the player's parking lot for those Twitter comments from seven years ago," a reference to Nance, Jr.'s Tweets about Bryant that resurfaced after he was drafted, comments he has since apologized for.
However, as long as he doesn't find himself actually staring down the hood of Kobe's car, it seems the national media is beginning to pick up on the bright future awaiting Nance, Jr.
All stats per NBA.com. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.