When the Los Angeles Lakers signed Kendrick Nunn last summer to a two-year contract, it seemed like the biggest bargain of the summer. A year later, no one knows what to think about it.
Nunn signed a $5 million a year deal in L.A. whereas he could’ve secured more money elsewhere. Instead, he decided to sacrifice for a chance to win a title, something head coach Darvin Ham will surely appreciate. His relations with Klutch Sports might have played a role in coming to L.A. as well.
The Lakers haven’t yet been able to figure out if the deal was worth it or not as Nunn battled a mysterious bone bruise suffered in Oct. 2021. He was set to be re-evaluated two to three weeks after the injury but instead, he missed the entire season.
Nunn missed 31 games in two seasons with the Miami Heat making the lost time an anomaly for him. He still found a way for it to be positive, instead looking at the game from a different perspective.
The guard reflected on last season and what he was able to learn while watching from the sidelines from a change in an interview with Chris McGee on Spectrum Sportsnet:
“Last year was a learning process for me, to be honest. I learned a lot sitting on the sideline just watching. The game slowed down a lot for me. I got to see things from a different perspective. So, definitely took a step just in my ability to learn the game.”
At 26 years old and just three years in the league, Nunn still has a lot left to learn.
He averaged 15 points in his rookie season, finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting. That point total, however, plummeted in the playoffs when he averaged 6 points and fell out of the rotation. His sophomore year saw a slight point decrease to 14.6 per game, but improved play in four playoff games.
Having that time on the bench rehabbing an injury bubbled into a frustrating situation. Being stuck on the sidelines last year led to critics attacking Nunn, who felt he did the best with what he had:
“Yeah, I definitely found that [I learned a lot about myself and the game]. Wasn’t expecting to sit out that long, but I took advantage of it just to watch. Sit back and watch from a different perspective.”
Nunn’s presence last season surely would have helped the Purple and Gold. He shot nearly 38% from three in his final season with Miami. His play off the bench paired with Malik Monk would have been interesting to see. The guard is a shooting threat to pair alongside Russell Westbrook, which could help make Westbrook’s fit work.
With the Lakers only able to sign one free agent to the midlevel this offseason, Nunn’s play can represent another midlevel exception player. He has the two-way ability to not only stay on the floor but be a huge piece for the Lakers.
Now, all Nunn has to do is log some minutes.
Nunn emphasizes he’s feeling 100% healthy
The 2021-22 season became a nightmare for Kendrick Nunn. A bone bruise injury knocked him out the entire year, but he says he’s 100% healthy now after a long layover. Nunn said this is also the best he’s felt since the 2020-21 season in Miami.
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