Among undrafted players in NBA history, none has gotten off to the kind of scoring start like the Miami Heat's Kendrick Nunn has. And among 20-plus players taken No. 1 overall, Nunn has a leg up of sorts on them now, too.
Nunn scored a career-high 28 points last night in a win against the Atlanta Hawks, giving him 112 total points through his first five NBA games. That's the highest mark of any undrafted player, surpassing the 105 points Phoenix Suns legend and Hall of Famer Connie Hawkins had to open the 1969-70 season.
Nunn became the first player with 100 points in his first five career games since Kevin Durant scored 113 in the 2007-08 season, per ESPN Stats and Information, which also notes that by surpassing the 108-point mark in his first five games, he has gotten off to a better start to the season than the last 26 No. 1 overall Draft picks.
Kendrick Nunn has scored 108 points in his first 5 games, more than 26 straight No. 1 overall picks had in their first 5 career games (not including Zion). The last No. 1 pick to score 108+ was Shaquille O'Neal in 1992-93 (129).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 1, 2019
The last No. 1 overall pick to amass more than 108 points or more in his first five games was Shaquille O'Neal in 1992-93. O'Neal scored 129 points in that span as a member of the Orlando Magic.
The rook can ball. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/j0xIDceehh— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 1, 2019
To date, Nunn is averaging 22.4 points (22nd in the NBA) while shooting 51.8% overall and 48.4% on 3-pointers while also averaging 2.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. The 6-foot-2 guard from Oakland University in Michigan scored 14 points in the third quarter vs. Atlanta. He began his career with 24 points against Memphis on Oct. 23, and he has kept shooting. He has scored at least 24 points three times in Miami’s first five games.
“It’s surreal a little bit,” Nunn said. ”... All I needed was the opportunity.”
A Chicago native, Nunn went undrafted in 2018 and spent his first professional season in the G League with the Santa Cruz Warriors. He was signed by the Heat on April 10 and has impressed both the NBA at large as well as his Heat teammates.
“Those guys out of Chicago are real,” Heat guard Jimmy Butler said, per the Miami Herald. “I heard about the kid, I’ve watched film on him, I know what he likes to do as a player. I want him to keep doing that. I always tell people all the time, my job is to help win and to help get guys big pay days. He’s on his way to one.”
“He can shoot it,” Hawks rookie Cam Reddish said. “I have a lot of respect for that guy.”
To Nunn, though, this hot start to his NBA career is something he almost expected.
“No surprise to me. Just another day at the office,” Nunn said, per the Miami Herald. “... I knew from years ago that I was one of the better players. All I needed was the opportunity.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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