Can Kendrick Nunn become the first undrafted Rookie of the Year in NBA history?
The 2019 NBA draft class was extremely top heavy - with Zion Williamson leading the way. And if people ever got over Williamson, there were always the Ja Morants and R. J. Barretts of the world to talk about.
Prior to the beginning of the season, those three were the leading candidates for the NBA Rookie of the Year award. However, as the season has finally begun, it is the undrafted rookie Kendrick Nunn that is making serious noise on the court.
Playing for the Miami Heat, Nunn's 112 points are the highest total through the first five games for any undrafted player in NBA history. And if that doesn't sound impressive enough, he is the first player with 100 points in his first five NBA games since Kevin Durant.
Nunn has blended his individual talent very well with a system that Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has built for him to take maximum shots. A three-point specialist in college, Nunn has benefited from the Heat's strategy to open up the floor for him.
Another factor that worked in his favor was the absence of Miami's star acquisition from the off season, Jimmy Butler. However, since Butler has returned in the two games against the Atlanta Hawks, Nunn is still taking around the same number of shots per game.
On the contrary, he has benefited from Butler's gravity that has sucked the defense towards him.
Nunn has proved to be more than just a one-dimensional scorer. Averaging 2 assists per game, he is displaying an advanced ability to scan the floor under pressure and deliver on time and on target.
On the defensive end of the floor, he has displayed a knack for the ball. He has also shown a willingness to give up his body with supreme effort. These are the intangibles that can't really be taught to a player, and Nunn has all of them inherently imbibed within himself.
It has been less than two weeks since the NBA regular season commenced, and Pelicans' star Williamson is still nursing his injury. And if he does come back to his pre-season form then Nunn's efforts may go unnoticed.
However, if Nunn continues to exploit the opportunities given to him and takes his game up a notch, he may very well be on the brink of creating NBA history by becoming the first undrafted NBA player to win the Rookie of the Year award.