After missing the entirety of the 2021-22 season because of a knee issue, guard Kendrick Nunn was motivated to make up for lost time in 2023 and show the Los Angeles Lakers and their fans what they had missed out on last year.
Things looked promising early as Nunn had a strong preseason showing and looked poised to be a big part of the Lakers’ backcourt. But after a solid opening night, he struggled mightily with his shooting, failing to make a shot in six of the next 10 games he played in.
His continued inconsistency would lead to him being in and out of Darvin Ham’s rotation, a solid night often being followed with multiple rough outings. But even throughout his early season struggles, Nunn would never complain, continue to work hard and support his teammates at all times.
Eventually, it would pay off as Nunn would be thrust back in the rotation in January due to injury and had some excellent nights off the bench. Nunn would score in double figures six times in an eight game span and showed that he can contribute if given the opportunity.
But with the Lakers looking to bolster their front court, the front office would ultimately move on from Nunn, dealing him and three second-round picks to the Washington Wizards for Rui Hachimura.
In 39 games with the Lakers in 2023, Nunn averaged 6.7 and 1.4 rebounds on 40.6% shooting from the field. He fared slightly better in Washington, averaging 7.5 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 31 games with the Wizards while also shooting 44.7% from the field
When Nunn got another chance to contribute for the Lakers after falling out of the rotation, he did not disappoint. His Jan. 6 contest against the Atlanta Hawks was his best in a Lakers uniform as he led a strong showing from the bench as a whole with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting including 3-of-7 from 3-point range.
Nunn would also add three rebounds, two assists and a steal as the Lakers dominated the Hawks with a 16-point win at home.
The last two seasons have not been the best for Nunn, but he finished the year well enough in Washington that he should have some suitors as an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He is still just 27 years old and has shown the ability to contribute both as a starter and off the bench with solid shooting, passing and strong defense.
His ability to consistently shoot from deep will still be a huge factor in his success moving forward, but he has the determination and work ethic to succeed and a team will surely bring him with an opportunity for a solid reserve role.
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