Kendrick Nunn is not your ordinary NBA rookie.
The 24-year-old played four years of college basketball (a rarity these days) and even sat out one more due to transferring from Illinois after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge. He played the role of sixth man for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the G League before the Miami Heat offered him a three-year rookie deal, one he has already outplayed by becoming a starter in Erik Spoelstra's rotation.
Nunn believes he's not just one of the early favorites for Rookie of the Year, but the front-runner:
“Yeah, definitely. I definitely feel like I'm the Rookie of the Year,” said Nunn during an interview with Shams Charania of Stadium. “It's early, but the way I've been performing definitely I'm in the running for that and hopefully I continue this throughout the season and win the award.”
Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn (16.9 PPG) to NBA Insider @ShamsCharania:
“I definitely feel like I’m the Rookie of the Year.” pic.twitter.com/neAQmJCbY8
— Stadium (@Stadium) November 27, 2019
Nunn is putting up 16.9 points per game on the season, second only to No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant among all rookies and a smidge above second-rounder Eric Paschall of the Golden State Warriors, who has gotten plenty of run this season.
Besides Morant and Paschall, Nunn will also be measuring himself against others like No. 3 pick RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks, as well as teammate Tyler Herro.
Another potential opponent could be top overall pick Zion Williamson, though missing roughly the first 20-plus games of the season could cost him dearly in this race.
Kendrick Nunn has been a scoring machine and a poised floor general in his first year in the league, giving Ja Morant and others a run for their money in this race for the highly coveted first-year award.