After missing all of the 2021/22 NBA regular season due to a knee injury, Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn says he’s fully recovered and excited about L.A.’s future. Nunn, who picked up his $5.25MM player option for the 2022/23 season last month, made those comments in a conversation with Chris McGee of Spectrum SportsNet (Twitter video link).
“I feel 100% [recovered] to be honest,” Nunn said of his current health status. “Back to where I’m normally playing at a high level.”
After going undrafted out of Oakland in 2018, the 6’2″ guard eventually attracted the attention of the Heat’s front office. Nunn signed with Miami in April 2019, but would not suit up for the franchise until the 2019/20 season. He was named to the 2020 All-Rookie First Team following a breakout Miami run. Nunn is averaging 15.0 PPG, 3.0 APG, and 2.9 RPG across his 123 healthy NBA contests, all with the Heat. He holds shooting splits of .458/.364/.881 in those games.
When the Heat opted to pull Nunn’s $4.7MM qualifying offer in the 2021 offseason, Nunn signed a two-year deal with the Lakers as an unrestricted free agent. Los Angeles envisioned him as a key bench scoring contributor for what it expected to be a contending team. However, after sitting out a season – and given his limitations as a defender – it is unclear how much of a contribution Nunn will be able to make this year.
The Lakers, who finished last season with a 33-49 record, could certainly use Nunn’s help should he recover his old form. He is one of just six Los Angeles players set to earn more than the veteran’s minimum this year. Given the value of his current contract as an expiring one-year deal worth more than the minimum, the veteran guard has also been floated as a potential trade chip the Lakers could use to improve their roster.
Here’s more from Nunn’s interview:
- If he does stick with L.A., it appears Nunn is well on his well to developing a rapport with new Lakers head coach Darvin Ham. Nunn acknowledged that he has already been in frequent contact with the former Bucks assistant. “I talked to him a bunch,” Nunn said. “[We] ran into each other a bunch of times with me working out and him coming in.”
- Nunn attempted to make the most out of the 2021/22 season despite not being able to play at all:“Last year was a learning process for me. I learned a lot, sitting on the sidelines just watching. The game slowed down a lot for me, I got to see things from a different perspective… Wasn’t expecting to sit out that long.”
- When asked what Lakers fans could expect following an uneven 2021/22 season that left the team on the outside of the play-in window looking, Nunn alluded to one of last season’s key issues. “They should expect consistency,” Nunn said. “That’s my number one thing. Coming in, night in, night out, and… being consistent on both ends of the floor.”