Trail Blazers newcomer Larry Nance Jr. has not been to the postseason since the Cavaliers’ run to the NBA Finals in 2018. Now in Portland, Nance Jr. is excited to play a role on a postseason-ready squad. On Tuesday, Trail Blazers digital reporter Casey Holdahl spoke with the former Cavs forward about the road ahead.
Nance Jr. explained to Holdahl that Cleveland will always hold a place in his heart, but he has rooted for Damian Lillard and the Blazers well a trade placed him in Portland.
So look, leaving Cleveland was obviously very bittersweet for me. I love (Cleveland), I’m from here, my dad played here, there’s so much history with my family here. But the chance, the opportunity came to come to Portland and it was impossible to pass up on. It’s a team I’ve been rooting for in the playoffs for a while now, just feel like it’s impossible to root against a guy like Dame and CJ, seems like they have great guys on the roster. I felt it was an opportunity where I really have a chance to step in and make a difference. This is a team that’s been on the edge of something special for a while now and the higher ups in the organization deemed me as someone that could help them get higher. I’m thrilled at the opportunity and I’m really looking forward to taking it. Getting a chance to play with players of this caliber doesn’t come around too often.
When it comes to the 2022 NBA Playoffs, Nance Jr. has an idea of how he can assist Lillard and CJ McCollum when the pressure is on.
It kind of hit me over the past few years watching the playoffs and watching the guys that really step up and shine in the playoffs, guys that you can’t take off the court. I fit that mold to a ’T.’ I’m sitting there watching PJ Tucker become a cult hero in Milwaukee and Bobby Portis, even a guy like Aaron Gordon or Torrey Craig kind of shinning in their roles and that type of stuff in the playoffs where they’re a versatile defender, can switch, knock down shots, can do a little bit of everything. I consider myself among that mold, I’m ready to show. It’s Dame and CJ’s team and I’m not here to throw my hat in that ring, I’m here to make their job easier, make their lives easier. I want to try to make it so Dame doesn’t have to take 35-foot shots, he can take 30-foot shots, you know what I mean? Anything to make those guys’ jobs easier and I know for a fact that I can certainly do that.
Nance Jr. goes on to discuss his college journey and his interaction with Portland fans after a recent visit to Voodoo Doughnut.
You can read the complete story from Holdahl by clicking here.