With the start of the 2022-23 season just around the corner, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham still has a lot to sort out when it comes to his starting lineup and rotations.
The Lakers essentially have a brand new roster as only six players remain from last season, and only five of them even played for the purple and gold with Kendrick Nunn missing the entire season with a bone bruise in his knee.
Nunn says he is fully healthy now though and his play on the court during training camp seems to reflect that.
After Friday’s practice, Ham revealed that Nunn and Damian Jones have been the team’s primary starters alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook so far.
Ham then went on to praise Nunn for how he has looked so far in camp.
“Phenomenal. He had a really, really good day today,” Ham said. “He’s been great. He’s been great. Shooting the ball well, making the right reads, defending. Really had a good defensive day as well as an offensive day today. So he’s doing really, really well.”
Ham added that it feels like the Lakers added a new player in Nunn this offseason.
“I told him early on in the summertime when I saw him in here grinding away, working on his body, working on his agility, just in here constantly daily getting back accustomed to being on the floor, getting his rhythm back. I told him he’s huge. It’s almost like he’s a new player, he’s a free agent for us. So, I told him he’s going to be a big part of what I’m trying to do and he’s embraced it and you can tell by his play thus far.”
The Lakers head coach wasn’t the only one to praise Nunn as second-year guard Austin Reaves also made sure to point out how good his teammate has looked. “Kendrick today was killing. I don’t think he missed a shot all day.”
The fact that Nunn is not only healthy, but also playing well, is a great sign for the Lakers. He is one of the only players on the roster that can score from all three levels while also playing competent defense.
Whether or not he winds up starting remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Nunn’s name is now in the mix and perhaps the leader in the clubhouse for the shooting guard spot.
Ham on how Nunn complements starting lineup
Not many had Nunn penciled in as a starter going into training camp, but Ham explained why he likes him with that group alongside the team’s stars.
“With Kendrick, you got a really big-time catch-and-shoot player, also a player that can play pick-and-roll, and also a player that can score at all three levels,” Ham said. “He can score at the rim, he can score in the mid-range and he can score from three, as I mentioned before. And he’s like a little water bug defensively. He can squeeze through pick-and-rolls, he can avoid screens, he can chase, he’s athletic, he gets good contests on shots.”
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