The Kendrick Nunn hype has been put on pause, at least for now.
After a historic start to the season for an undrafted rookie, Nunn has run into a two-game shooting slump. The 24-year-old Heat guard has scored 16 points on 6-of-24 shooting from the field and 3-of-13 shooting on threes over the past two games.
One of the biggest differences for Nunn from his fast start to his recent struggles is his ability to make shots around the basket. He was 17 of 27 (63 percent) on shots from in the restricted area over the first five games, and he’s 2 of 7 (28.6 percent) on those shots over the past two games.
“Look, how many games we have left? 75?” Heat wing Jimmy Butler said following Tuesday’s loss to the Nuggets when asked about Nunn’s recent shooting struggles. “I’m willing to make you a bet that it won’t be the last tough shooting night that he has or Tyler [Herro] has or whoever you want to name. It’s part of the league.”
Nunn said opponents are defending him a little differently after he scored the most points (112) through five games by an undrafted player in NBA history. But he doesn’t believe it should impact his offensive efficiency or production.
“I don’t feel a huge difference,” Nunn said, with the Heat continuing its three-game West Coast trip Thursday against the Suns. “But some possessions, they might blitz a little harder than others. But I still feel I can play my game.
“I think I’m taking great shots. I think they are great shots, shots that I can make.”
Even after this two-game stretch, Nunn’s numbers for the season are still impressive. He’s averaging a team-high 18.3 points while shooting 45.9 percent from the field and 40.9 percent on threes, 2.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists in seven games.
“We want him to continue to be aggressive, along with everybody else in the locker room,” Butler said of Nunn. “We’re not worried about scoring points. ... Who cares whose night it is? But for that kid, we want him to stay aggressive, stay sharp, know that he’s a really good player.”
This and that
▪ Heat forward Chris Silva was on the active roster in Tuesday’s loss to the Nuggets. It counted as the fourth day of his 45-day NBA clock on his two-way contract. Silva played just six minutes in the loss, with all of his playing time coming in the fourth quarter when the Nuggets were already in control.
▪ With so many young players on the Heat’s roster, coach Erik Spoelstra was asked whether he worries about their confidence following Tuesday’s blowout loss in Denver.
“I’m not concerned about that,” Spoelstra said. “This was a 1,000 percent we game. I don’t think any of us, including the staff, were great tonight. We’ll get to work [Wednesday] and get ready for another quality opponent. Phoenix is playing really well.”