Kendrick Nunn has been on the outside looking in this year when it comes to his role on the Miami Heat. Nunn has only played in seven games this year after starting 67 games for the Heat last season.
However, a strong performance Monday night against the Detroit Pistons showed a glimpse of what he could provide for Miami moving forward. Nunn put up 18 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals while shooting 8-of-15 from the field in a strong 34 minutes of game action.
Many were quick to banish him from the rotation in favor of Miami’s second year two-way contract player Gabe Vincent, but Nunn has proven he can play as well as he did last year. What could be Nunn’s role with the Heat after his latest strong performance?
The best role for Nunn may be as the ninth or tenth player coming off of the bench. The trends from Erik Spoelstra has shown that Goran Dragic, Precious Achiuwa, and Andre Iguodala will be the first few players off of the bench.
Maurice Harkless was another name who played well Monday night who could find himself in the rotation moving forward. Harkless had a relatively light stat-line, but his impact on the court defensively can not be overlooked with eight deflections and solid play.
This leaves Nunn as the ninth or tenth man coming off the bench. This spot may ultimately be the best spot for him at this point. If he can have a hot scoring night on different occasions, it will provide a nice bench boost scoring wise for Miami as they rank mid-pack at 15th in the league.
Nunn has made many mistakes in his previous games this year, but a set rotation the rest of the season would do wonders for every player on the team. They rank dead last in the league when it comes to turnovers per game, which is contributed to the lack of consistent rotations through 12 games.
If he can average 10-20 minutes per game in a set rotation, I believe he could have a positive impact for the Heat. Nunn played relatively well last year and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting. There are reasons why he could be out of the rotation, but there are positives such as his ability to score and chemistry with other teammates.
It wouldn’t be a big loss for Miami if this didn’t turn out well for Nunn. They can easily take him out if he is inefficient and possibly package him in a deal at the deadline. There are many different things they can do with him and Erik Spoelstra has those options.
Jimmy Butler and Avery Bradley still remain out due to health and safety protocols and who knows how much longer they may be out. Nunn should have a significant amount of minutes during that stretch of time and he could string off some consistent performances.
While many fans think his inconsistency is a detriment to the team, it may be best to not give up on Kendrick Nunn quite yet.