Key Laker Fires Back on Twitter at Report of ‘Slow’ Injury Progress

Kendrick Nunn (center) playing vs the Lakers while with the Miami Heat.

Getty Kendrick Nunn (center) playing vs the Lakers while with the Miami Heat.

Don’t believe everything you read, apparently. That was the message from Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn on Saturday after seeing a report on Twitter that mentioned him and his impending NBA return to the court for L.A.

In a podcast appearance with HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, Lakers beat reporter Jovan Buha noted that Nunn, who missed all of last season with a knee injury after signing with the team last summer, has still been slow in his recovery and return.

“He’s been around the facility shooting and working out,” Buha said, per Lakers Nation. “It’s been a slower than anticipated ramp-up. They’ve got Pat, so he’s the best addition of the offseason, but there’s a chance Nunn is the best free agent addition they make getting him back. He’s a guy they spent the taxpayer mid-level exception on last season. He was pretty solid during his first couple of years in Miami as a combo guard. He’s someone who could develop into the sixth man for this team.”

When Nunn saw on Twitter that, his “ramp-up process has reportedly been ‘slower than anticipated’,” he responded by indicating his slow ramp-up was news to him.

“You learn new things about yourself everyday on social media,” he wrote, “that’s why I barely be on here.”

Nunn’s Knee Has Been a Mystery for a Year

Certainly, it is hard to imagine how Nunn’s return from his knee injury could possibly be any slower. The first sign of concern around Nunn’s knee came up last October, when he was diagnosed with a bone bruise and was expected to be re-evaluated two or three weeks later.

It was in January—two months later—that Nunn’s return was delayed because the knee had failed to respond to an increase in activity. And not long after that, the team decided to simply shut down Nunn for the season, a disappointing waste of a year.

Nunn had a player option on his contract for this year and exercised it, keeping in Los Angeles for another year. In late July, speaking to Spectrum SportsNet in L.A., Nunn said he was ready to go.

“I feel great,” he said. “I feel 100% to be honest, back to where I’m normally, playing at a high level. … It’s been a while, it’s been a while since I felt this good. Maybe since back when I was playing, back in last season, the last season I was playing (2020-21).”

Kendrick Nunn Could Be Key for Lakers Bench

If Nunn is right that his ramp-up is not slower than expected, then it’s great news for the Lakers because, as Buha pointed out, he could be the team’s most significant addition this season.

The Lakers tore down their roster after last year’s disappointing 33-49 finish, adding young players like Thomas Bryant, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Lonnie Walker IV, Thomas Bryant Jr. and Damian Jones to go with vets Anthony Davis and LeBron James.

But the trade that brought in Beverley from the Jazz provides a significant 3-and-D presence in the backcourt, and the potential addition of Nunn could give the Lakers serious scoring punch off the bench, if he is healthy. Nunn, who is still only 27, has averaged 15.0 points per game in two seasons, both spent with Miami. He shot 48.5% from the field and 38.1% from the 3-point line with the Heat in 2020-21.

The Lakers’ Top 4 scorers off the bench last season were Carmelo Anthony (13.4 points), Malik Monk (10.7), Talen Horton-Tucker (8.3) and Wayne Ellington (6.7). Anthony remains a free agent who could yet return to the team, while Ellington is a free agent who almost certainly will not come back. Monk signed with the Kings, and THT was shipped to Utah for Beverley.

L.A. will have a vastly different reserve unit, and Nunn could be the key to its success.

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