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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.


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Check out the Wine & Gold's Top Plays from the seventeenth week of the 2019-20 campaign.

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Top 5 powered by ENGIE

Check out the Wine & Gold's Top Plays from the seventeenth week of the 2019-20 campaign.
Feb 17, 2020  |  01:31

Cavs vs. Hawks On-Court Postgame: Cavs Frontcourt

Cavaliers bigs Andre Drummond, Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. spoke with FOX Sports Ohio’s Angel Gray following Wednesday’s 127-105 win over the Atlanta Hawks at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Feb 12, 2020  |  01:38

Nance Assists On One End, Blocks Shot on the Other

Larry Nance drops a pass off to Tristan Thompson for a dunk then blocks a Hawks shot on the other side of the floor.
Feb 12, 2020  |  00:19

Nance's Acrobatic Tip-In

Larry Nance Jr. follows up a Cavaliers miss with a tip-in at the rim.
Feb 12, 2020  |  00:11

Great Passing Leads to Nance Dunk

Andre Drummond to Darius Garland to Larry Nance Jr... Cleveland's great passing down the court leads to Nance's powerful slam.
Feb 12, 2020  |  00:15

KPJ to LNJ for Ally-Oop

Kevin Porter Jr. finds Larry Nance Jr. for an ally-oop in the second quarter against the Hawks.
Feb 12, 2020  |  00:11

GAME RECAP: Cavaliers 127, Hawks 105

Cleveland pulls away with a home win against Atlanta as Tristan Thompson comes off the bench to score 27 points to go along with 11 rebounds.
Feb 12, 2020  |  00:00

Cavs vs. Hawks Shootaround: Larry Nance Jr.

Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. spoke with the media following shootaround on Wednesday at Cleveland Clinic Courts.
Feb 12, 2020  |  05:57

GAME RECAP: Clippers 133, Cavaliers 92

Lou Williams scores 25 points and grabs 5 rebounds in LA's dominant win over Cleveland 133-92.
Feb 9, 2020  |  00:01

GAME RECAP: Thunder 109, Cavaliers 103

Dennis Schroder had 30 points off the bench in the Thunder's 109-103 win over the Cavaliers.
Feb 5, 2020  |  00:01

Nance's Putback Slam Gives Cavs the Lead

After a Cavs miss, Larry Nance Jr. skies for a big putback slam to give Cleveland one-point leads in the fourth quarter.
Feb 5, 2020  |  00:09

Nance Throws Down Powerful Dunk

LNJ reaches back and puts home a one-handed jam in the fourth quarter against the Thunder.
Feb 5, 2020  |  00:18

Cavs Ball Movement Leads to Bucket

Dante Exum pushes the pace, finds Larry Nacnce Jr., who kicks it back out to Cedi Osman who cans the three.
Feb 5, 2020  |  00:10

Nance's Nifty Pass to Love

Larry Nance Jr. shows off his pasing skills with a nice interior bounce pass to Kevin Love who finishes off the play with a lay-up.
Feb 5, 2020  |  00:09

Feat. Highlight: DG, LNJ Link Up for Dunk

Darius Garland bounces a perfect pass in-stride to Larry Nance Jr. who slams it home with two hands.
Feb 4, 2020  |  00:09

Cavs vs. Knicks Postgame: Larry Nance Jr.

Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. spoke with the media following Monday’s loss to the New York Knicks at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Feb 3, 2020  |  03:45

GAME RECAP: Knicks 139, Cavaliers 134

Marcus Morris Sr. scores 26 points with 2 rebounds and an assist to lead New York to the overtime win over Cleveland, 139-134.
Feb 3, 2020  |  00:01

Nance's Slam in OT

Kevin Love finds Larry Nance Jr. in the lane who skies for a thunderous jam in overtime.
Feb 3, 2020  |  00:09

Sexton's Behind-the-Back Pass to Nance for Three

Collin Sexton fires a behind-the-back pass to Larry Nance Jr. who finishes the play off with a three ball.
Feb 3, 2020  |  00:11

Exum Drives, Finds Nance who Slams

Dante Exum drives baseline and splits the defense with a pass to Larry Nance Jr. who dunks it with force in the second quarter.
Feb 3, 2020  |  00:11

Junior to Junior- Larry Hits Kevin For Three

Larry Nance Jr. shows off his passing ability with a nice pass to the corner where Kevin Porter Jr. cans a three.
Feb 3, 2020  |  00:12

Top Plays of January presented by Lexus

Check out the Wine & Gold's Top Plays from the month of January presented by Lexus.
Feb 3, 2020  |  04:04

GAME RECAP: Warriors 131, Cavaliers 112

Draymond Green dished out 16 assists in the Warriors 131-112 win over the Cavaliers.
Feb 1, 2020  |  00:01

Nance Goes Up and Under for Jam

Larry Nance Jr. dunks it home with authority after a nice up-and-under move.
Feb 1, 2020  |  00:11

Larry Nance Jr. Hits Wild Shot at the Rim

Larry Nance Jr. gets the ball at the top of the key, drives in, and hits a tough shot in the paint.
Feb 1, 2020  |  00:09

GAME RECAP: Raptors 115, Cavaliers 109

The Raptors beat the Cavaliers 115-109 thanks to a 26 point performance from Serge Ibaka.
Jan 30, 2020  |  00:01

Nance Puts Norman Powell on a Poster

Larry Nance Jr. puts Toronto's Norman Powell on a poster in Thursday's final frame.
Jan 30, 2020  |  00:12

Larry Jr. from Downtown!

Larry Nance Jr. shows off his range with a pretty three in the fourth quarter.
Jan 30, 2020  |  00:08

Garland Finds Nance Jr. for the Alley-Oop

Darius Garland drops the pin-point alley-oop on Larry Jr.'s hands early in the second quarter.
Jan 30, 2020  |  00:09

Featured Highlight: Love Dimes Larry

Following Kevin Porter Jr.'s cross court pass, Kevin Love handles the ball and dimes Larry Nance Jr. for the slam dunk.
Jan 30, 2020  |  00:27
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