Although Byron Scott hasn’t been the best NBA head coach of all time, his opinion is the only one that matters in L.A. at the moment, and at the moment Byron Scott says Larry Nance Jr. would be a lottery pick if they redrafted the 2015 draft (he went 27th for reals) and Julius Randle stinks and needs to grow up.
Indeed, Nance has improved gradually since being inserted in the starting lineup last month. And over the past week, he’s averaging 10 and 10, including a 15-point, 14-rebound outburst against the Suns on January 3.
I watched him during his 14-board performance on New Year’s Day against the Sixers and I did get visions of his dandy dunker daddy. Larry Jr. is about the same size and flies around in much the same way as once did Larry Sr., who has a special place in my heart. He always wowed but lost to Dominique Wilkins or Michael Jordan in the classic Slam Dunk Contests of the mid-1980s, and he’s one of the dudes featured on that rad Sultans of Slam poster from that era. Hard to believe pappy’s not in the Hall with these nice career numbers: 17.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg, and 2.2 bpg.
As good as Larry Sr. was, I think those numbers aren’t out of the question for Larry Jr. if everything falls right. Buy in now!
Here’s some other goings-ons in Boards-N-Blocks land:
DeMarcus Cousins – Followed up his huge game (32 points, 10 boards) against the no defense Suns with a beastly performance in another win last night against a Kevin Durant-less OKC: 33 points, 19 boards, 2 blocks. Finally, he’s living up to the hype … ooorrrrr you could always sell high, and before you call me crazy consider this: Rolling with DeMarcus for the rest of the year is betting on the idea that he can go the whole season without having a huge blowout with George Karl. And despite the post-game congratulatory tweet from DMC to GK for surpassing Phil on the all-time wins list, I don’t love those odds.
Jeff Withey – Waaait. Whatareyoudoinghere? San Diego native Jeff Withey – no it’s not Spanish for “whale’s vagina” – continues to get minutes thanks to injuries to Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. And he continues to produce, with 11 ppg, almost 9 rpg and 3 bpg over the past week, including another solid game (8-11-3) last night against the Rockets. And I expect that to continue because of …
Derrick Favors – He’s still hampered by that bum knee, which caused him to be a game-time decision and eventual scratch last night vs. the Rockets. I’m thinking it’s going to continue to be one of those situations where Favors does you no, uh, favors, by suiting up and sitting out, at least until the All-Star Break.
Bismack Biyombo – Now in a timeshare with Jonas Valanciunas for the Raptors’ center position, Bismack’s production and minutes have gone as flat as a Bisquick pancake. Biyombo can get you 9 boards and a couple blocks in 20 minutes on a great night, but not all the nights are gonna be great. It’s bedtime for Biyombo.
Jonas Valanciunas – Gets a few more points per game and has better FG and FT percentages. Clearly the guy going forward but, again, if both dudes are getting 24 minutes per game, neither is going to be a huge factor in fantasy.
Ian Mahimni – Finally a solid game (13-9-1) after some pretty horrendous outings that had me thinking he might be in jeopardy of continuing that long-standing Pacers tradition of softy big men. Remember Rik Smits (7-4, 250, 6.1 rpg for his career)? Remember Roy Hibbert (7-2, 270, 6.8 rpg for his career and counting)? Remember when Manhinmi was a hot pickup? Me neither. It might be his banged-up knee, but even Andrew Bynum could do better than the 1-point, 4-board effort he put forth the other day against the Pistons.
Roy Hibbert – Speaking of the Hibbs, damn, he softer than Charmin’. The true measure of his cushiony feel came on New Year’s Day, when he mustered only 3 points, 5 boards and 2 blocks against the Sixers, who everyone cleans up on.
Jerami Grant – Brett Brown says Grant’s future is at power forward, and he’s playing him at power forward in what appears to be his set starting lineup alongside Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel, which he used last night in Philly’s big win over Minnesota. Hard to say how it will work out based just on that game, as Grant focused on d-ing up the Wolves’ bigs and ended up fouling out.
Hassan Whiteside – It’s just like Bono said: Nothing changes on New Year’s Day. Except Hasaan Whiteside turns it up and pours in 25 points! Of course, he also tossed in the usual boards (19) and a block. Sat out last night’s game against the Pacers with an oblique, but it sounds like one of those wink-wink injuries where Whiteside just needed a day off.
Free-throw contest between Andre Drummond vs. DeAndre Jordan – You’d be happy to have either dude on your team for boards and blocks provided you could punt free throws. But what if you were in a points league and couldn’t punt free throws? These guys KILL your squad. If you can punt, you go with Drummond. But if FTs are crucial to your success, you go with Jordan – DeAndre has been up over 50 percent over the past few weeks, while Drummond is at 22 percent over the last seven days. Yipes!
Evan Turner – Reeled in a nifty 12-11-1 line starting for Avery Bradley at shooting guard in last night’s win in Brooklyn. Turner can do that. He can also vanish faster than the dessert tray when it’s Jared Sullinger‘s (12-10 in the same game) turn at the post-game buffet.
Pau Gasol – We know he can score, and we know he can board, and we know he can get you assists on nifty passes from the post and steals with his quick hands. But our boy Paul been blocking shots like it’s going out of style, averaging 2.8 bpg over his last 10. That’s bonkers.