As we previously detailed, the Los Angeles Lakers have a major potential logjam at power forward on their roster right now. Larry Nance, Jr. and Julius Randle are nearly full-time fours, Luol Deng needs to play there if the Lakers are going to get any return on their $72 million investment in him, Brandon Ingram will likely play there some eventually and the front office just drafted rookie Kyle Kuzma.
If the Lakers don’t make a deal to address this buildup at the position, then it would certainly help a lot if Randle and Nance could slide up a position. During his appearance on the Hoopshype Podcast with Alex Kennedy, Nance made it sound like that’s exactly what the two of them plan to do.
“They really want me to stretch the floor next year, so that’s what I’m working on all summer, just that three-point jump shot,” Nance said (as transcribed by Jacob Rude of Lakers Outsiders). “Now that we drafted Lonzo, they want me kind of filling that James Worthy role. Sprinting up the sideline, being athletic, playing on the wing and hopefully adding some more posters to my resume.”
Nance adding more posters is never a bad thing, and he also talked about how Ball could help him there. However, the bigger tidbit there would seem to be Nance increasing his range to the 3-point line. If Nance becomes a credible shooter from that distance, it would work wonders for the Lakers spacing and potentially allow him to play alongside Randle.
As Rude noted, both players worked on their three-point shots down the stretch of the season, with Nance knocking down eight of his 22 threes and Randle going 11-for-35 behind the arc in the Lakers’ last 18 games.
Those are both okay percentages that will have to hold up over a larger sample size if that pairing is to work offensively and ease the Lakers’ clogged depth at the four, and it sounds like Nance plans to get an early start on that this summer:
“We got to work together a little bit on the court, but he’s got his special recipe that he follows and it looks like it’s working. We see him in the gym and he’s working on a lot of the same stuff that I am: jump shot, and just improving his overall game just like we all are. He’s another one of those guys I’m really excited to get back in the gym with and start to figure out how we can all play together in positionless basketball.”
A lineup with Randle, Nance, Ball and two other wings would surely be able to run one of the quickest and most versatile fastbreaks in the NBA. If Nance and Randle’s improved shooting can make it work in the halfcourt, then maybe those types of units can get some real burn next season.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.