When Victor Oladipo rose up to the rim and came down grabbing that knee, there was only one guy who saw a glimmer of hope and opportunity. Kendrick Nunn.
When talking about a player that has gone through a tremendous amount of ups and downs, Nunn would have to be pretty high on that list. G-League player to immediate NBA starter. NBA starter to non-rotation player come playoff time. Out of the rotation to NBA starter again. Then starter to out of the rotation for yet another brief period, before returning to that starting point guard spot after the unfortunate Oladipo injury.
Oh, and this has all occurred in a matter of months.
Even when hearing the traditional and unoriginal quotes about his work behind the scenes and ability to stay ready, that is not an overstatement, since going through that type of roller coaster is not easy to continually come right back and produce. But he has, and it’s important to discuss what could be next for him barring a returning Oladipo.
Although there is still so much uncertainty around Oladipo’s injury status, let’s just take a brief moment to picture as if he will return at some point this season. Miami’s in a first round match-up as their returning two-way acquisition plugs back into the starting lineup. Where does Kendrick Nunn go?
Well, that answer is as clear as ever at the current stage. One of Miami’s issues lately has been bench production, since Goran Dragic has struggled, Tyler Herro hasn’t been the initiator many envisioned, and guys like Andre Iguodala and Precious Achiuwa are offensively limited. If anything has become blatantly obvious, it’s that Nunn could actually be the perfect piece in the area that Miami is lacking right now with that second unit.
Another element to this being possible is the fact that they’ve been willing to go to these 3 guard lineups night in and night out, some even including Nunn, Dragic, and Herro, which I’m not so sure is the right answer. The point is that they are capable of working them all in, especially since Nunn is probably their most consistent guard when referring to these three guys.
Obviously it’s hard to truly project on rotations and lineups when there is still so much unknown about the health of Oladipo. But if he somehow makes a return this season, the reason for Miami turning it around won’t be due to Oladipo’s two-way play. It’ll be the puzzle pieces falling perfectly into place, inserting guys into roles that’ll allow them to play to their ultimate strengths.