Miami Heat

Nunn labels himself a ‘combo guard’ and points out areas he has improved since joining Heat

Kendrick Nunn on his Heat summer debut

Kendrick Nunn speaks after scoring 27 in his summer debut with the Heat.
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Kendrick Nunn speaks after scoring 27 in his summer debut with the Heat.

Kendrick Nunn has yet to play in an NBA game after going undrafted out of Oakland University in 2018. But he’s on track to change that.

The 6-3, 195-pound combo guard is in line to, at the very least, be part of the Heat’s roster when it opens training camp in late September. Nunn is also a top candidate to fill one of the final spots on Miami’s regular-season roster, with his 2019-20 guarantee jumping from $50,000 to $150,000 last week.

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Nunn’s guarantee jumps to $450,000 if he’s on the Heat’s opening night roster, and his full $1.4 million 2019-20 salary becomes guaranteed if he’s still on the roster in January. He’s one of 13 players the Heat currently has signed to a standard NBA contract, with teams allowed to carry a maximum of 15 players (not including two-way contract players) during the regular season.

“It’s an amazing process, to be honest,” Nunn said as he signed autographs and posed for photos with kids during a Tuesday appearance at Jr. Heat Basketball Camp at Miami Dade College in Kendall. “I was in the G League last year. Just to be able to be with an NBA team all summer and playing summer league with them, I had a great summer league. It’s been a good process and I’m enjoying it.”

If Nunn makes the Heat’s regular-season roster, summer league wouldn’t be the only reason why. But it would be a big one, as he was named to the NBA Summer League First Team after averaging 22 points while shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 38.5 percent on threes, 4.3 rebounds and 5.2 assists in six summer league games.

“It was great. The summer league, it’s a part of showing things that I can do,” said Nunn, who turned 24 on Saturday. “It’s a couple weeks long. You kind of know what type of player players are when adversity hits throughout the long season. So I’m looking forward to showing that.”

The Heat signed Nunn to a nonguaranteed two-year contract on the final day of the 2018-19 regular season. In his short time with the organization, he said he has “definitely gotten better with my point guard skills — delivering the ball, getting guys shots.”

“I’m comfortable playing the point guard position and I can also play the two-guard position,” Nunn said. “So I’m kind of a combo guard. That’s where I’m at.”

Nunn arrived to the Heat as a scorer, as he averaged 19.3 points in 49 games for the Santa Cruz Warriors, the Warriors’ G League affiliate, last season. He spent his first professional season in the G League.

Before that, Nunn averaged 25.9 points as a redshirt senior at Oakland University, finishing as the runner-up to then-Oklahoma and now Hawks guard Trae Young for the NCAA scoring title in 2017-18.

The Heat knows Nunn has the ability to score at all three levels — behind the three-point line, in the midrange and in the paint. It’s growth in other areas, like defense and playmaking for others, that Miami wants to see from Nunn moving forward.

“All great feedback,” he said when asked what Heat executives and coaches have told him since his standout summer league. “They know what type of player I am. Just being around the organization, getting to know me better. It’s been super good feedback.”

Of his first impression of Heat second-round pick KZ Okpala, Nunn said: “It’s been good being around him. He was with us all summer league. I’ve seen splashes of his game and things like that, and he’s a great player. He’s very talented and versatile.”

Nunn is a fan of Heat center Bam Adebayo’s game. Adebayo is in Las Vegas this week participating in Team USA’s training camp in preparation for the FIBA World Cup.

“Bam is a monster,” Nunn said. “I’ve been watching him since his Kentucky days. He’s every bit of a monster. I love his game.”

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Anthony Chiang covers the Miami Heat for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and was born and raised in Miami.
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