This may be premature after a summer league game, but he is showing the potential to be that type of player.
Maybe a little premature but he certainly looked really good defensively especially with his reading of the play and help defense, looked really good, Zubac looking much further along than some thought too (he's a huge unit )
Re: Kkinchen Tonight: Larry Nance Jr Defensive Player of the Year
My main takeaway from our first exhibition game against Golden State is that Nance Jr can be a gamechanger with his defense. Our best lineup come season end is probably going to be Russell/Young/Ingram/Nance Jr/Randle
We could even go small in the second unit:
Luke Walton has done a pretty good job with this young Laker team thus far, but I do have a bone to pick with him as far as the rotation goes. If you are going to preach defense, and want to instill a defensive mentality in the team, then it makes sense to make the starters your best defensive players.
The second unit is outstanding defensively, and this is the reason they are leading the nba in bench scoring. Great defense leads to easy offense. So, I am making the case that this team could be scary good if the entire second unit were promoted to the starting lineup.
What has been the starting lineup has consistently been behind to start games this year, and our swarming defensive second unit has brought us back improbably on a couple occassions. I think Williams,Clarkson,Ingram,Nance,and Black should be our starters and Russell,Young,Deng,Randle,and Mozgov should be our bench.
Deng late in the 4th WHILE he went small was really something I questioned tonight. Deng at 4 was exposed real quick, they switched on JC guarding LMA & that killed the momentum late in the 4th. It was a great game overall. It wasn't an easy win for the Spurs at all. Win or learn.
The insertion of Deng is precisely when our run ended. Nonethless, it is becoming evident that our current second unit is special defensively. They remind me of that Bulls team that won 72 games with the swarming type defense they play.
As for Deng, I think his best game so far was against Golden State. He did some really good things putting the ball on the floor, getting in the paint, and distributed to Randle and Mozgov for easy buckets right at the rim. I think Coach Walton should utilize him in that way every game.
Deng is a player that can initiate some really good interior passing that gives us easy buckets at the rim, and, more importantly allows us to play inside-out. Our first unit has to play that way offensively because they simply don't have the footspeed as a unit to play good transition defense. They are solid in the halfcourt but at a disadvantage when it comes to transition.