Cavaliers News: LeBron James Hypes Up Larry Nance Jr. After Career Night

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 5: Larry Nance Jr. #22 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives around Andre Drummond #0 of the Detroit Pistons during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena on March 5, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Pistons 112-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Larry Nance Jr. made quite the impression during his first start with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.

After producing a career-high 22 points and 15 rebounds in a 112-90 victory over the Detroit Pistons, Nance was the talk of the town. He even had four-time MVP LeBron James serving as a hype man after the game, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin:

"High-energy plays is what he's all about. He's very fast, athletic and puts himself in a position to be successful on the floor. He's always in the right spots, and for us, if we break the defense down, just try to put it up there for him on a lob, or if the 5 man is sagging off on him, we try to get him the ball where he can get his shots. He makes a lot of energy and effort plays by just being himself, and it results in good things for our team."

Nance was inserted in the lineup after Tristan Thompson sprained his ankle and is expected to be out a couple of games. If his first start is any indication, the Cavaliers are going to be just fine as their veteran center heals up.

Cleveland knew Nance could provide a spark off the bench and throw down jaw-dropping dunks. What it didn't know was that he could shoot the ball.

"I didn't know he could shoot it," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said, per McMenamin. "He never shot it in L.A. But coming here, just watching him shoot, he has three-point range also, which I didn't know. If he can continue to make that shot, it helps our offense out tremendously."

On that same note, James added that Nance's ability to consistently knock down jumpers will help Cleveland's spacing, as it will keep opposing big men honest.

Of course, it's important to keep things in perspective—it was just one game. Nance is, however, a career 55.1 percent shooter (mostly around the rim). With James drawing the defense's attention, the 6'9" forward should get more and more chances to show what he can do offensively.

If Nance continues to shoot the ball well, he could force Lue to make a tough decision when Thompson (and Kevin Love) gets healthy. Cleveland is at its best when Thompson is cleaning up the boards and giving the offense second chances while limiting opponents to just one shot. The Cavaliers do, however, need someone to consistently provide help for James and Love offensively.

A breakout game in his starting debut grabbed everybody's attention. Now, it's on Nance to prove it wasn't a fluke.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.