Lakers News: Luke Walton Says Losing Larry Nance Jr. Will Hurt The...

Lakers News: Luke Walton Says Losing Larry Nance Jr. Will Hurt The Team

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Larry Nance Jr. Lakers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Portland Trail Blazers in a heartbreaker on Thursday night, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the only thing they lost. Starting power forward Larry Nance Jr. broke his left hand while attempting to block a shot in the third quarter, leaving the team without arguably their best defensive player.

Head coach Luke Walton was disappointed after the game for Nance, who had worked hard to secure a starting role for himself this season. He spoke to Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell after the game about how much the team would miss Nance:

Trudell was also able to clarify Nance’s injury, which originally was erroneously reported as a first metacarpal fracture:

Without Nance, the Lakers will have to find someone else to step into the starting spower forward position, and with a matchup against the Brooklyn Nets and D’Angelo Russell scheduled for Friday night, they will have to decide fast.

The most likely candidates would appear to be Julius Randle and Kyle Kuzma. Randle spent the majority of the last two seasons as the starter, but he has performed so well off the bench this season that Walton may opt to keep him there. The same could be said, however, for Kuzma, who has emerged as one of the team’s biggest scoring threats despite being a rookie.

A dark horse for the job could be veteran Luol Deng, who only appeared in 13 minutes in the first game of the season and hasn’t seen the floor since. Walton is known for trying to keep lineups that work together, so if he decides to keep both Randle and Kuzma on the bench unit, Deng could get the nod.

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