A glance at Larry Nance Jr.'s career stats suggests the Wyoming alum is a mere journeyman in the NBA. A closer analysis of what does not make the stat sheet reveals a glue guy that every NBA Finals hopefully would appreciate being on the roster. Thankfully, the New Orleans Pelicans have Nance on the books for at least one more season.

Behind sharpshooting sixth man Trey Murphy III, the highlight-reel dunking dynamo is the perfect seventh man in the rotation for the Pelicans. The supportive, outspoken Nance Jr. alerted the league earlier this season while hyping up this team's potential. He is proving invaluable as a small-ball big man as well, accounting for a less than eight percent salary cap hit.

The 31-year-old does everything a team could ask for from a key reserve. Rebounding, steals, floor spacing three-point threat, and game recap extraordinaire, he brings it all to the table.

Pelicans' Larry Nance Jr. a one-of-one reserve

New Orleans Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. (22) reverse dunks the ball against Memphis Grizzlies guard John Konchar (46) during the second half at Smoothie King Center.
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

It's usually players like Zion Williamson getting complimented as being a one-of-one, to use trading card terminology. Well, Nance Jr. has a small claim to being the most well-rounded substitute in the league. He is the only player averaging more than nine rebounds and two steals per 100 possessions while still shooting over 40% from three-point range.

Unfortunately, the Pelicans have not had Nance Jr.'s production available for 42 of the team's 60 games so far. The nine-year veteran dealt with an ankle issue over the summer break which required injections to help the healing and a right rib fracture earlier this season.

The downtime allowed Nance Jr. to return to action fully healthy for the first time in over a year. The decision to rest up is now paying off handsome dividends for New Orleans.

Nance Jr. is second on the team in charges drawn (8), right behind defensive maestro Herb Jones (11). Only Jonas Valanciunas has more screen assists and points. Green has kept his options at the center position separated too.

Nance Jr. and Valanciunas have played a total of just over five minutes together in two games all season. This has allowed the Lithuanian double-double machine to stay relatively fresh and feature in all 60 games this season.

The Pelicans are getting 5.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game from Nance Jr., along with his leadership. They are not the sexiest stats but he comes up huge in high-pressure situations. He posted 14 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, a block, and a steal in the 2022 NBA Play-In Tournament win over the Los Angeles Clippers. He missed one shot (7-8) from the field in 24 minutes of court time in that elimination game.

He meshes too well with Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and CJ McCollum both individually and as a Big Three. Nance Jr. gives Williamson room to operate in the paint because he can no longer be ignored beyond the three-point line (42.6%). Both Ingram and McCollum are shooting better than 50% from the field when receiving passes from Nance Jr.

New Orleans went on a four-game win streak when Nance Jr. returned this season. The Pelicans are 18-11 since Nance Jr. got his name off the injury report in late December. Quite simply, Nance Jr.'s intangibles are hard to quantify and even harder for third-year head coach Willie Green to ignore.