3. Larry Nance Jr.
As athletic and as talented as Nance is, he is the least deserving of the starting nod come the regular season. This could be problematic, as head coach Luke Walton seemingly wants to give the Nod to Nance. Nance started the preseason finale alongside Brook Lopez in the frontcourt, limiting Julius Randle to only 13 minutes off the bench.
Although Randle did suffer back spasms in the preseason finale against the Clippers, that occurred after Nance was given the starting nod. Nance and Lopez have been a familiar tandem this preseason, and according to Walton, the decision is “more than who is playing better than the other two.”
This cryptic comment is leaning the starting role to Nance, which it shouldn’t. Although Nance is athletic and has shown some great leadership qualities, these are all attributes that should be present in the second unit. Nance has not proven that he can produce more than his teammates and that is all evidence Walton should need.
Nance did not score more than nine points or grab more than nine rebounds this preseason despite averaging 18 minutes per game. Overall, Nance has averaged 4.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Those are not starting caliber numbers.
Walton giving Nance the starting nod would be a mistake and would only be setting the Lakers back. Unless Randle’s injury is serious and there are plans for Kuzma elsewhere, there is no reason Nance should be the Lakers starting power forward. At least, until he proves he can be.