One of the best players on the Los Angeles Lakers has been cleared to increase contact in workouts.
According to a September 7th report from Jovan Buha of The Athletic, guard Kendrick Nunn was cleared to increase contact in workouts over the past two-plus weeks. The lefty, along with Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV, is under consideration to start alongside superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis in 2022-23.
“(Darvin) Ham also acknowledged that Kendrick Nunn, Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV will have notable roles and are in consideration to start,” Buha wrote. “Nunn was cleared to increase contact in workouts over the past two-plus weeks, league sources told The Athletic. Ham said Nunn has been primarily doing individual drill work and working hard in the weight room.”
Nunn missed the entire 2021-22 season due to a bone bruise in his right knee. The Chicago native, who has career averages of 15.0 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 123 regular-season games with the Miami Heat, picked up his $5.3 million player option with the Lakers for the upcoming season.
New Lakers head coach Darvin Ham could start Nunn in the backcourt alongside All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, although it’s worth mentioning that CBS Sports is predicting that Los Angeles will start Westbrook, Patrick Beverley, Juan Toscano-Anderson, James and Davis in 2022-23 if Westbrook isn’t traded.
Nunn Looks to Bring Consistency to Lakers
During a July 26th interview with Spectrum SportsNet’s Chris Geeter McGee, Nunn said he wanted to bring “consistency” to the Lakers, who missed the playoffs last season. Los Angeles ranked 22nd in the NBA in 3-point shooting in 2021-22, hitting only 34.7% of its team attempts. Nunn is a career 36.4% shooter from beyond the arc, so he projects to fit well next to James and Davis.
“They should expect consistency,” Nunn told McGee. “That’s my number one thing. Coming in, night in, night out, and being consistent on both ends of the floor.”
The last time Nunn played was during the 2020-21 season. He averaged 14.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists for the Heat while shooting 38.1% from 3-point range.
Bleacher Report Thinks Nunn Should Play over Westbrook in Small-Ball Lineup
In an August 16th piece titled “The Small-Ball Lineup Every NBA Team Needs to Showcase In 2022-23,” Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey wrote that the Lakers’ small-ball lineup shouldn’t include Westbrook. Bailey had Nunn in his small-ball lineup over the one-time MVP.
Nunn is a good fit next to James and Davis due to his ability to shoot from the perimeter. Westbrook shot only 29.8% from beyond the arc last season. The nine-time All-Star had the sixth-worst effective field goal percentage in the league, and among 46 players to take at least 1,000 shots, Westbrook ranked 42nd in true shooting percentage.
Nunn, 27, has been mentioned in several Westbrook trade proposals due to his tradable salary. However, he could play a key role for the Lakers if he’s not dealt. Nunn seems like he should be ready to go by the start of training camp, but nothing can be written in stone with him since he missed all of last season.