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2019-20 Preseason Profile: Larry Nance Jr.

Emerging Forward Seeks to Build Off Career Year
by Joe Gabriele
Cavs.com Beat Writer

2019-20 Preseason Profile:
Larry Nance Jr.

Emerging Forward Seeks to Build Off Career Year


Cleveland sports fans love nothing more than an athlete who “gets us.” And no Cavalier understands this better than Larry Nance Jr. – who’s one of us.

Nance understands the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat that comes with being a Clevelander. That’s why he takes his and his team’s improvement so personally.

Nobody on the roster spent more offseason time honing his game at Cleveland Clinic Courts than Nance – a fixture in Independence over the summer. As he did over his four-year career at Wyoming, he’s gotten incrementally better in each of his four NBA seasons – showing marked improvement in all major categories.

Taken No. 27 overall by the Lakers in 2015, Nance was dealt to his hometown team – along with Jordan Clarkson – at the 2018 Trade Deadline, with the Wine & Gold shipping Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and a first rounder that turned out to be Moritz Wagner to the Lakers. (Thomas has played in 29 total games since the trade, Frye retired after his final season with Cleveland and Wagner was shipped to the Wizards this summer.)

The scion of a local legend, Nance has dealt with the barrage of questions about his father, and has handled the pressure of that lineage with aplomb. He’s not the shot-blocker that his father was, but he definitely emerged as one of Cleveland’s best defenders in his year-and-a-half with the club – leading the Cavs in both blocks (40) and steals (100).

Nance appeared at All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles in 2018, finishing second in the Slam Dunk Contest. And he’d love nothing more than to represent the Wine & Gold when the midseason classic comes to Cleveland in 2022. He’s done nothing but improve over his first four years in the Association, and the work he’s put in over the summer indicates another leap in 2019-20.

A fan and media favorite, Nance is also one of the team’s best guys and an outstanding ambassador for the franchise and city.

Already having put plenty of time in at CCC, there’s absolutely no doubt that he’ll be ready to go when Training Camp tips off in just over a week.


With a new coaching staff this year, Larry Nance Jr. will be looked to for veteran production and leadership.
Photo: David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images


LOOKING BACK -- It’s no secret that the Wine & Gold limped to the finish line last year, dropping 13 of their final 15 contests. But that didn’t mean that some of their young guns – like Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson and Nance – didn’t have strong finishes to a frustrating season.

Nance sprinted to the finish – grabbing at least 10 boards in the final seven games of the campaign – averaging a double-double over that span (10.3 ppg, 12.3 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.9 spg).

Overall, he put up career-best numbers in points (9.4), rebounds (8.2) and assists (3.2). Defensively, Nance was strong all season – averaging 1.9 steals per contest – good enough for 15th in the NBA. He grabbed at least one steal in 15 straight games, tallying 33 overall and swiping at least two in 11 of those tilts.

Matthew Dellavedova led the squad in assists at 4.2 per contest, with Nance right behind. As the year progressed, Coach Larry Drew even began running some of the offense through his power forward, who emerged as the team’s best passer with Delly on the shelf. He handed out a career-best seven assists on six occasions.

Kevin Love’s injury early in the season opened the door for Nance’s career year, and he followed closely in Love’s footsteps in terms of double-doubles – doubling up in a career-best 18 games, including a six-game stretch just before the All-Star Break.

And while the Cavaliers didn’t post a bunch of dramatic wins this past season, Nance was responsible for one of the team’s best closing moments – scoring on a tip-in to the beat the buzzer (and the Pacers) in a 92-91 thriller in Indiana on December 18.


BY THE NUMBERS: 45 … years that have passed since a player posted a night like Nance did against Atlanta on December 29 last year – finishing with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting to go with a career-high-tying 15 boards, seven assists and four steals.

He became the first player since steals have been tracked to put up at least 18 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and an .875 field goal percentage in a single game.


LOOKING AHEAD -- Nance has been preparing for the upcoming season almost immediately after last season wrapped up. He’s been one of Cleveland’s hardest workers over the offseason and will look to build upon his career year in 2018-19.

Cleveland’s new coaching staff will need some young veterans to channel their message through. And the Cavaliers group of youngsters will need a young veteran to learn the league’s ins and outs. Nance is the ideal man for both jobs.

In his first full season with the Wine & Gold, Nance emerged as both a team leader and an emerging force at power forward. Already one of the club’s most versatile players, look for him to take a step forward from beyond the arc this season – and to continue his ascension within the league and organization in 2019-20.


Wine & Gold Winners Powered by ENGIE

The Wine & Gold defeated the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on November 10th, 2019, behind a 31-point performance by Collin Sexton.

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Wine & Gold Winners Powered by ENGIE

The Wine & Gold defeated the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on November 10th, 2019, behind a 31-point performance by Collin Sexton.
Jun 30, 2020  |  01:42

A Special Message from the Cavaliers

The common thread, through ANY challenge we face, is our UNITY. View a special message from the Cavaliers organization. We can’t wait to be back together again!
May 14, 2020  |  00:58

Conference Call with Larry Nance Jr.

Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. spoke to the media Tuesday from his home to discuss the season and many more topics.
May 12, 2020  |  32:16

CavsHQ Happy Hour presented by Budweiser Episode 2

Cavs forward Larry Nance Jr. joins John Michael and Rafa Hernandez-Brito on the latest installment of CavsHQ Happy Hour presented by Budweiser.
Apr 27, 2020  |  32:11

Larry Nance Jr. thanks the Cleveland Clinic

Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. checks in to thank those who have been working within the Cleveland Clinic to keep Ohio safe and healthy.
Apr 1, 2020  |  00:44

GAME RECAP: Bulls 108, Cavaliers 103

Coby White scores 20 points, Wendell Carter Jr. adds 17 with 6 rebounds as the Bulls win it, 108-103.
Mar 10, 2020  |  00:01

Nance Passes to McKinnie for Easy Dunk

Larry Nance Jr. drives inside and makes a pass to Alfonzo McKinnie for the easy dunk.
Mar 10, 2020  |  00:09

Delly Waits for the Right Time, Finds LNJ for Dunk

Matthew Dellavedova waits patiently for Larry Nance Jr. to make a cut to the hoop, as Delly splits the defense with a pass that leads to a Nance dunk at the end of the first half.
Mar 10, 2020  |  00:16

Nance Steals and Outlets to Sexton for Fast-Break Bucket

Larry Nance Jr. gets the steal and throws a one-handed pass down the floor to a streaking Collin Sexton who lays it up and in.
Mar 10, 2020  |  00:15

Cavs First Half Block Party

Alfonzo McKinnie, Larry Nance Jr., and Matthew Dellavedova all block Bulls shots in the first quarter.
Mar 10, 2020  |  00:29

Sexton Goes Inside to Nance for Dunk

Collin Sexton whips in a pass to Larry Nance Jr. who gets free for an easy two-handed slam.
Mar 10, 2020  |  00:12

Nance Assists to Sexton for Baseline Jam

Larry Nance Jr. finds a wide open Collin Sexton who goes baseline for the two-handed dunk.
Mar 10, 2020  |  00:10

Cavs vs. Spurs Postgame: Larry Nance Jr.

Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. spoke with the media following Sunday’s 132-129 OT win over the San Antonio Spurs at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Mar 8, 2020  |  04:58

GAME RECAP: Cavaliers 132, Spurs 129

Andre Drummond leads with 28 points and grabs 17 boards for Cleveland to win a nail biter home game against San Antonio, 132-129
Mar 8, 2020  |  00:01

Cedi Shows Off His Passing Skills with Two Crafty Assists

Cedi Osman fires an accurate one-handed pass through the defense to Larry Nance Jr. who cans the three. On the next possession, Osman splits two defenders with a drop-off pass to Alfonzo McKinnie who scores the lay-up.
Mar 8, 2020  |  00:21

GAME RECAP: Cavaliers 104, Nuggets 102

Kevin Love scores 27 points and 6 rebounds Saturday night as Cleveland beat Denver, 104-102.
Mar 8, 2020  |  00:01

Nance's Put-Back Slam

Larry Nance Jr. is in the right place at the right time as he follows a Cavaliers miss with a put-back dunk.
Mar 7, 2020  |  00:09

LNJ's One Handed Jam

At the end of the shot clock, Tristan Thompson finds Larry Nance Jr. who dunks it home with one hand .
Mar 7, 2020  |  00:09

Nance Spins & Wins in the Paint

Larry Nance Jr. shows off his skills inside, as he spins past his defender and scores at the rim.
Mar 7, 2020  |  00:09

Feat. Highlight: CLE's Early Dunks

Larry Nance Jr. slams home a one-handed put-back dunk and Collin Sexton makes a great cut in the lane and slams with two hands for the Cavs first two baskets of the game.
Mar 5, 2020  |  00:30

GAME RECAP: Celtics 112, Cavaliers 106

Jayson Tatum scores 32 points and 9 rebounds Wednesday night as Boston beat Cleveland, 112-106.
Mar 4, 2020  |  00:01

Nance's Beautiful Pass Sets Up Cedi for Three

Larry Nance Jr. sends a quick and accurate pass to Cedi Osman in the corner who cans the three ball to give the Cavs the lead.
Mar 4, 2020  |  00:18

Nance Recovers Loose Ball, Dunks it Home with Two Hands

After Boston blocked his first shot attempt, Larry Nance Jr. grabbed the loose ball and finished off the play with a wide open dunk.
Mar 4, 2020  |  00:18

LNJ's Slick Move Leads to Dunk

Larry Nance Jr. gets into the paint, puts a move on to get open, and dunks it home in the third quarter.
Mar 4, 2020  |  00:16

Nance Steals and Scores

Larry Nance Jr. steals the ball on defense and goes coast-to-coast with it to convert a lay-up on the other end.
Mar 4, 2020  |  00:09

KPJ Threads the Needle with Great Pass

Kevin Porter Jr. hits Larry Nance Jr. inside with a perfect pass between the defense for a great assist.
Mar 4, 2020  |  00:17

GAME RECAP: Jazz 126, Cavaliers 113

Bojan Bogdanovic scores 28 as the Jazz get the win over the Cavaliers, 126-113.
Mar 2, 2020  |  00:01

Nance Throws Down Powerful Dunk

Matthew Dellavedova assists Larry Nance Jr. on this strong, two-handed ally-oop in the fourth quarter.
Mar 2, 2020  |  00:17

KPJ to LNJ for Two

Kevin Porter Jr. records another smooth assist, this time with the pass going to Larry Nance Jr. who lays it home for two.
Mar 2, 2020  |  00:10

Top Plays of February presented by Lexus

From dishes to dunks check out the top plays of February presented by Lexus.
Mar 2, 2020  |  04:56
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