Breaking it Down: Nekias Duncan on Heat-Hawks II

How is this happening?

How are the Miami Heat off to a 4-1 start with Jimmy Butler missing three games and playing passively on offense for most of the other two?

How are Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro doing this…. as rookies?

How is someone on a two-way contract, such as Chris Silva, contributing so much?

After the Heat’s latest win, this one 106-97 against the Hawks in Atlanta, Nekias Duncan (@NekiasNBA) does what he does: a comprehensive video breakdown on Twitter.

Duncan contributes to Five Reasons Sports Network from time to time, so look for more of his work here.

Still, this thread is worth your time, just like this Heat team:




Miami Heat have a stud on the rise in Kendrick Nunn

The Miami Heat have certainly benefited from his contributions.

Although the Miami Heat lost by a 112-106 score on Sunday evening, there were many positives to take away from the game. One of them was the continued production from rookie shooting guard Kendrick Nunn.

For the third game in a row, Nunn played well. In 40 minutes of action, he shot nine-of-17 from the field. He managed to go five-of-nine from beyond the arc and made both his free throws. In addition to his shooting success, he also recorded four rebounds and two assists. In total, he scored 25 points on the evening. With both his field-goal percentage and three-point percentage above 50%, it’s safe to say that he was efficient.

It was good to see him play well on Sunday, especially coming off back-to-back games. He had a solid game on Saturday as well, but the efficiency wasn’t there. In particular, he was cold from behind the arc against Milwaukee. He finished two-of-eight in that department. Nevertheless, his overall body of work was impressive. He finished with 18 points on the evening.

It’s good to see Nunn provide this sort of spark for Miami. You can definitely tell the potential is there. As a matter of fact, the potential is not only there, it is a tangible thing. In his last preseason game against Houston, he scored 40 points in 40 minutes of play and shot 55.6% from the field.  In what is a very talented and crowded Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat are going to need as many scoring options as possible. Nunn certainly provides that, and it is an unexpected surprise.

For me, the sample size is still a bit too small to fully judge what he is capable of. However, there is no denying that he has provided a spark for the Miami Heat. I’d expect that to continue as the season goes on. He certainly has the talent and capability to be successful. It will be interesting to see how he does over the next couple of games. He has a skill set that is sustainable, and that will definitely work in his favor moving forward. He is a good basketball player, and success definitely has a chance to be a part of his future.

Get Used to Kendrick Nunn

You’ll have to get used to Kendrick Nunn.

Maybe we’ve been hyping the wrong rookie.

Well, not entirely. Tyler Herro is 19. He will have much better nights than he did in Wednesday’s season opening 120-101 win for the Miami Heat against the Memphis Grizzlies, when he was often squeezed off his spots and tried to do much creating to compensate.

But it was his summer league backcourt mate, the one who has appeared polished in every game he’s played for Miami — Las Vegas to preseason to now the regular season — who shined the most.

Kendrick Nunn is 24 already. And the guard — snatched from Golden State on the last day of last season — matched his age with his scoring in his Miami Heat debut, a debut that came as a surprise starter. Not a substitute starter. That was Herro, in for Jimmy Butler, who missed the game with a personal issue (nothing to worry about). Nunn was supposed to start all along.

Think about that.

Nunn, who wasn’t drafted, who wasn’t valued enough by a thin Warriors team to be kept safe from poachers, who was an afterthought heading into the offseason, was given the starting job between Butler and Justise Winslow for the season opener at home. Ahead of Herro. Ahead of Dion Waiters, before Waiters’ complaining and IG stalking got him suspended.

Eric Reid, who has called 31 seasons of Heat basketball, tried to tell you on the Five on the Floor we posted just prior to the opener:

As Reid noted, this promotion wasn’t just about that 40-point game, mostly against Houston’s starters, in the Heat’s preseason finale. It was about the steady approach Nunn has shown for months now. His hesitation dribble is elite. He does not rush. He switches comfortably between both guard spots. He competes on defense. And he’s not afraid to pull up and launch when he sees some space.

The Heat have a long history of unearthing point guards. Anthony Carter, now on the staff, and Mike James had long NBA careers after no team really wanted either. But Nunn is a combo of the two. He shoots much better than Carter. And he’s more versatile and polished than James.

Also, the attitude.

Listen here: