The Cavs’ very own Larry Nance Jr. isn’t just playing well, he’s giving out nicknames well too and he may have labeled this team’s style.
When Larry Nance Jr. was traded to the Cavs from the Lakers, many fans saw him as a raw player who was still establishing his game. A game many weren’t sure would happen in Cleveland, as trade rumors circled about him since his arrival. An arrival that brought the son of a Cavaliers legend to Cleveland. Nance, whose father Larry Nance Sr. was a key component of the late ’80s-early ’90s Cavs squads alongside Mark Price and Brad Daughtery, is still beloved by the city.
His son had a huge hill to climb.
So it’s rather surprising with the weight of his expectations, his father’s legacy, the constant trade rumors, and the fact the Cavs weren’t expected to be any good in 2021, that the younger Nance has become somewhat the leader of this squad. He’s a steady, do-it-all forward, who has developed a three-point shot and plays very good half-court and transition defense. All while being the key guy for great quotes via his Twitter account.
He’s already dubbed Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, the Cavaliers young guard duo, with the nickname Sexland, and he’s doing it again with the Cavaliers squad as a whole; Heart + Hustle (or heart and hustle).
The name works considering J.B. Bickerstaff was part of the Memphis Grizzlies run when they were known as the Grit and Grind Grizzlies, and the Cavs have looked very reminiscent of that squad. Why shouldn’t they be? If you’ve seen Nance or Cedi Osman play, filling in for key players, you can see just how determined they are. How versatile so many of these players are or can be when utilized.
Nance, Osman, starting guard Collin Sexton and Javale McGee have really shown their value both offensively and defensively in transition. The Cavs defense has helped the offense so much that when Andre Drummond, McGee, or whoever gets a rebound, the Cavs start running and usually finish with a score.
The only thing hurting this team right now is the fact that they’re so depleted, and have no one else on their bench who can play to the level of the starting five. The Cavs are officially Heart and Hustle, for however long Bickerstaff and company are in town, and of course, as long as they stay in the playoff race.
Teams in the lottery don’t get to have nicknames.