NBA Summer League is a time to watch a bunch of draft picks, future cornerstones, and fringey guys itching for just one shot at the pros jack up 30-footers and mostly look lost. But sometimes viewers get lucky and see something like a No. 1 overall pick lay out a pass that recalls Magic Johnson, or a ferocious, rim-rattling jam that makes you want to fast forward to the darkest depths of winter just so you can watch the Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend.
Such was the case Saturday night in Vegas when Larry Nance Jr., a first-round pick of the Lakers in the 2015 draft, took the dish from fellow second-year man D’Angelo Russell on a pick and roll, took off from just inside the foul line and threw it down with no mercy and even less regard for anyone’s safety.
Then, later in the game, Nance grabbed a rebound and went coast to coast, ending up in a similar position after launching himself skyward once again from just inside the line for another powerful slam. Look out.
Nance’s father, Larry Sr., played in the NBA for 13 years and actually won the first ever Dunk Contest as a member of the Phoenix Suns in 1984. It was a duel right down to the final round against none other than Dr. J himself, and you can see where the kid gets it from.
The younger Nance had to skip this past year’s All-Star weekend event due to a knee injury. But he didn’t rule out participating in the future, telling ESPN’s Baxter Holmes that “it’s still something I personally would love to do in the near future. Next year, if [the NBA] wanted me, I would love to”.
Let’s hope the league is on board next February.