It’s hard to argue that Larry Nance Jr. isn’t the best all-around player on the Cavs this year. The 28-year-old power forward has been able to step up in a lot of ways and become arguably the best defensive player on the team, while also the team’s best creator on offense. Not only that, but he can block shots and steal passes, all while putting up double-digit points every night. All while shooting a career-high 38% from three-point.
So when news came out that the New Orleans Pelicans, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, and Philadelphia 76ers were all coming knocking, no one should’ve been surprised. Nance fills that Jack of all Trades style of play that is so invaluable. It doesn’t even matter if he’s starting or not, just that he gets his minutes.
Nance has also shown leadership qualities, something that this team is in desperate need of, especially with issues stemming around Kevin Porter Jr’s time with the team, to the needed guidance and focus for Isaac Okoro and Darius Garland, and not to mention the potential rift between Collin Sexton and Kevin Love.
Nane isn’t going to be a 25 point per game, 15 rebounds, 45% three-point shooter in his career. What he is, however, is a more athletic version of a prime-Draymond Green. A player who can facilitate the offense if needed, while also contributing in scoring and still having the ability and energy to play the defensive end of the court.
Nance may not appear to be a long-term fit for the Cavs, but he should be considered. He’s a rare legacy player with the team, as his father played in Cleveland during his time in the NBA, and he’s really been embraced by the city. He also is able to play multiple positions, and take on multiple responsibilities as well. Primary defender, play facilitator, three-point shooter; he’ll do it all.
His attachment to the city shouldn’t be overlooked, either. All season long he’s been helping locally owned businesses help get back on their feet. He’s been wearing t-shirts as a way to raise the profile of the business, as well as doing a jersey-match program that is nearing $120,000 raised.
Nance is the MVP of this team so far, and even though Sexton is the better scorer, what Nance does on and off the court is far more important than a good scoring night.