Kendrick Nunn was slated to play a big role for the Los Angeles Lakers when the team signed him ahead of the 2021-22 season. But after missing the entirety of the campaign with a knee injury, his impact on the Lakers lineup was pushed to 2022-23.
Things have not gone the way Nunn or the Lakers would have hoped thus far, as he’s been in and out of the rotation and is averaging 12.1 minutes per game with eight DNPs on the year. But against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, Nunn had by far his best performance of the season.
Facing injuries to Austin Reaves, Lonnie Walker IV and Troy Brown Jr., Nunn played 27 minutes and scored 23 points on 9-of-16 from the field and 3-for-7 from three. He tallied season highs in virtually every category and was pivotal in the team’s fourth consecutive win.
Mentally, Nunn has signified a massive increase in his confidence as well. “Obviously, night and day, just trying to figure out spots on the floor, chemistry, things like that early on, when everything’s so new and just putting in the work every day. Getting comfortable with my teammates out there on the floor.”
Nunn also spoke about the injuries to Reaves and Walker — both slated to miss multiple weeks — and the importance of capitalizing on the opportunity.
“For sure. I’ve been watching. Almost halfway through the season, I’ve been watching a lot. And opportunity knocks, I’m ready.”
Although he wants to be a good teammate, Nunn did admit to some frustration with not playing as much as he’d hoped.
“Not self-doubt. Frustration, I would say,” Nunn said of the toll of being in and out of the rotation. “Frustration for sure. Just knowing that I can help our team get victories. So that’s all it was.”
If Friday night was any indication, Nunn may be out of the slump that began his 2022-23 season and could be a hugely impactful player as Reaves and Walker recover from their injuries.
But of course, consistency is key for Nunn and a Lakers team entering a stretch of four consecutive games against teams currently in the top six of their respective conferences. If Nunn can have repeat success against players like De’Aaron Fox, Jamal Murray, and Tyrese Maxey, L.A. should have a real shot at being competitive during this stretch.
Darvin Ham excited about Sterling Brown addition
Another reinforcement that the Lakers are hoping can make an immediate impact is Sterling Brown, who was signed to a 10-day contract prior to the Hawks game. In Brown, Ham is hoping to see a player with versatility and a competitive mindset.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!