What they're saying about Larry Nance Jr

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[Nance] started 14 games last season, averaging 14.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and shooting .504 from the field. Coaches love him for the modern game. - Terry Pluto

In five March games, with head coach J.B. Bickerstaff utilizing Nance as a small forward at various points, he was averaging 15.6 points on 55.4% shooting and 45% from 3-point range to go with 7.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists (in 37 minutes per game). - Chris Fedor

(Those numbers over the course of a season would make him one of the better all-around small forwards in the league. For example, Jimmy Butler shot 45.5%, 24.4% on 3's, with 6.7 rebounds and 6 assists. However, I'm not sure how many of Nance's 37 minutes were at small forward).

The Nance-Love-Drummond combination played eight games, averaging almost eight minutes on the floor. They averaged 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds, along with a +/- of 6.3. - Kelsey Russo

(20.5 points scored in 8 minutes comes out to about 123 points in 48 minutes, and that doesn't include what the guards scored).

Just (a) gritty, tough winner. That’s all you can see, even when the ball wasn’t going in. When he isn’t doing well on offense, he will take it out on his defender and come out and play better (defense). Some people won’t do that. If the offense isn’t clicking, they’re still thinking about it at the other end. Larry [Nance Jr] is just such a key part of this team, of this culture, of our future…. Watch this thing grow. With culture guys like him we will be like Miami one day. - John Bielien

My quick look at the stats for last year shows that Nance was the best player on the team among those who got heavy minutes.

Overall the Cavs were 6.0 points per 100 possessions better when Nance was on the floor. The only players higher were Zizic and Henson in small samples and Delly in about half as many possessions. The Cavs were 8.4 pts better when Delly was in the game but I don't know how many of those minutes were against second units in garbage time.

I found one line of on/off court data for when Nance played small forward. The lineup was Drummond, Love, Nance, Sexton, and Delly, which we could put on the court again this year. It was only 33 possessions so the sample is very small, but that lineup outscored the opponents by 33.3 points per 100 possessions, averaging about 139 points while allowing 106. The offensive rebound rate was 33.3%, which would be in the top 1% in the league. The opponents' offensive rebound rate of 16.7% would be in the lowest 1%. That front line owned the glass at both ends.

Nance may not excel in any one area but he contributes in a lot of ways. The numbers show the Cavs improve in nearly every category when he is on the floor except for effective field goal percentage and offensive rebound percentage, both of which decrease by less than 1%. Turnovers decline by 1.7% when Nance is on the floor, putting him in the 90th percentile. At the same time, opponents' turnovers increase 1.8%, putting him in the 89th percentile.

Opponents' points per possession decrease by 4.2% when Nance is on the floor, putting him in the 81st percentile in how much he improves his team defensively. Not an elite defender, but well above average.

When Bickerstaff is putting together the five-man unit he wants on the floor for the last half of the fourth quarter in a close game, I don't see how he doesn't include Nance. Windler is a rookie who hasn't played in 20 months. Okoro is a 19-year-old rookie. Cedi is a defensive liability whose on/off numbers are below average across the board. I'm not saying these players won't contribute this year, but in crunch time the best lineup will probably be Drummond, Love, and Nance in the front court with some combination of Garland, Sexton, Porter, or Delly at the guard spots.

If that turns out to be our best lineup, why shouldn't it start and play more minutes than any other grouping?

Nance said he's been working hard on his perimeter game in anticipation of playing more 3 this year (that was before we drafted Okoro and all the mocks had us taking Toppin). I'd like to see some lineups with a front line of Drummond/McGee, Love, and Nance.
 

ansatsusha80

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the only way nance starts at the 3 is if KPJr is suspended and Cedi has not improved at all. Needs to be a wrinkle not the gameplan


Bickerstaff did say yesterday that he's going to try alot of different lineups during preseason...
 
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the only way nance starts at the 3 is if KPJr is suspended and Cedi has not improved at all. Needs to be a wrinkle not the gameplan
KPJ is viewed as a 2 by the Cavs.

What if the team does better with Nance at the 3 than it does with Okoro, Cedi, or Windler?
 

Adam

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KPJ is viewed as a 2 by the Cavs.

What if the team does better with Nance at the 3 than it does with Okoro, Cedi, or Windler?
I suppose my point is that they will do better, but only if it's used in short stints. If it became the main lineup teams will bother to scout it and take advantage of its weaknesses. Like any unusual lineup they are better as a change up
 

Cavatt

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I suppose my point is that they will do better, but only if it's used in short stints. If it became the main lineup teams will bother to scout it and take advantage of its weaknesses. Like any unusual lineup they are better as a change up

Also leaves us thin at the 4
 

Blazie

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I suppose my point is that they will do better, but only if it's used in short stints. If it became the main lineup teams will bother to scout it and take advantage of its weaknesses. Like any unusual lineup they are better as a change up

So I'm asking because I genuinely don't know: what exactly are the weaknesses of Nance at the 3? Besides being thin at the 4...
 

Adam

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So I'm asking because I genuinely don't know: what exactly are the weaknesses of Nance at the 3? Besides being thin at the 4...

Offensively it makes us lack drive and kick and close out attacking wings on the weakside. Larry can shoot from range now but hes not a threat to drive from the perimeter Defensively it provides a mismatch that is easy to attack with a simple pick and roll.
 

CleveRocks

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Also leaves us thin at the 4
I think Dean Wade has been a pleasant surprise at 4 and could get minutes.. from a rookie perspective the kid from Penn State is either a four or a permanent G leaguer..

That said, I would have liked to taken a shot at getting Portis as a bench four.. But Bucks got him.
 
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Offensively it makes us lack drive and kick and close out attacking wings on the weakside. Larry can shoot from range now but hes not a threat to drive from the perimeter Defensively it provides a mismatch that is easy to attack with a simple pick and roll.
Let me repeat some numbers from my original post with regards to Nance at the 3...

The lineup was Drummond, Love, Nance, Sexton, and Delly...that lineup outscored the opponents by 33.3 points per 100 possessions, averaging about 139 points while allowing 106. The offensive rebound rate was 33.3%...

I don't know how much their supposed lack of ability to drive and kick affected their scoring ability, but somehow that lineup averaged 139 points per 100 possessions. Maybe they let Sexton and Love take most of the shots while Nance and Drummond crashed the boards. You're talking theory, but the numbers say otherwise. There are more ways to score than driving and kicking.

Defensively that lineup was fine. The lineups that were easy to attack defensively were the ones that included some combination of Garland, Osman, and Porter.

With a front line of Dre, Love, and Nance opponents rarely got a second shot.
 
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Also leaves us thin at the 4
Good point - we don't have an established 4 other than Love and Nance, but they could also go with McGee at C and Drummond at PF when Love needs a breather. By the way, Bickerstaff had this comment yesterday...

JaVale [McGee] is a guy who has helped teams win titles and protects the paint and I think he benefits our young guys in a major way. His ability to protect them on the defensive end of the floor and then his ability to roll to the rim, I think he fits. Obviously Dre (Andre Drummond) can do those things as well so we think it’s a really, really good pairing.

We think we can be versatile with how we play those guys. Obviously, we played a big lineup last year and we think we can do more of that. So ... we’re fortunate to have the versatility there at those positions and the talent as well.


Hmmm..."we think we can do more of that".

Also, "we can be versatile in how we play [Drummond and McGee]." Does that mean putting them on the floor together?
 

Cavatt

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Good point - we don't have an established 4 other than Love and Nance, but they could also go with McGee at C and Drummond at PF when Love needs a breather. By the way, Bickerstaff had this comment yesterday...

JaVale [McGee] is a guy who has helped teams win titles and protects the paint and I think he benefits our young guys in a major way. His ability to protect them on the defensive end of the floor and then his ability to roll to the rim, I think he fits. Obviously Dre (Andre Drummond) can do those things as well so we think it’s a really, really good pairing.

We think we can be versatile with how we play those guys. Obviously, we played a big lineup last year and we think we can do more of that. So ... we’re fortunate to have the versatility there at those positions and the talent as well.


Hmmm..."we think we can do more of that".

Also, "we can be versatile in how we play [Drummond and McGee]." Does that mean putting them on the floor together?

I don't think I would play Drummond and McGee together, but who knows.

I really don't mind playing Larry at the 3, but we need his versatility as a 4 and small ball 5 as well. We are going to see stuff like
Garland
Windler
Okoro
Cedi
Nance

Where they play 4 wings at once. Could be very effective against certain teams
 

Murph

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Don't start Nance at the 3. Start him at the 4 and bring Love off the bench. That would improve both the starting line-up and the bench.

Starters:

Sexton
Porter
Okoro
Nance
Drummond


Bench:

Garland
Windler
Osman
Love
McGee
 
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