Why the Los Angeles Lakers Need to Play Larry Nance Jr. Now

LOS ANGELES — Four games into the most humbling start in their 68-year history as an NBA franchise, the Los Angeles Lakers are winless and scrambling for a life raft. Right now, the team lacks two critical components found in any successful season: talent and a clear objective.

The call for immediate production somehow hasn't faded, despite a clear need for talent development. Head coach Byron Scott is searching for different lineup combinations that can, at the very least, help fix the massive hemorrhage on defense and an antiquated (and unrealistic) plan of attack.

Answers might not exist in-house, but it’s on Scott to exhaust every option at his disposal. (On Tuesday night, center Tarik Black played 18 minutes after logging six total in the previous three games.) But the experimentation will continue through the next two weeks, as the Lakers journey on a five-game road trip. Playing rookie Larry Nance Jr. may be a step in the right direction.

“[Nance] will probably get his chance on this road trip,” Scott told Bleacher Report after the Lakers were handed their fourth loss by the Denver Nuggets. “Like I said, I’ve got to find a combination that can go out there and do the things we need to do on a day-to-day basis.”

This is exciting news for a team that could really use a defibrillating presence. Nance Jr. is someone who can crash the glass, capably hound his man and spruce up the defense with a splash of Slam Dunk Contest-worthy athleticism.

He’s yet to play a single second in the NBA, but desperate times call for desperate measures. 

After a recent Lakers practice, Nance Jr. decided to work on his outside shot by firing up a few dozen corner threes. Simple catch-and-shoot tries evolved into more difficult step-back attempts, but the 22-year-old’s footwork stayed error-free. He swished far more than he m...

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