Kendrick Nunn has proven to be one of the most impressive rookies so far this season.
It’s that fact that left him laughing off the notion that fellow rookie Ja Morant has essentially already won the Rookie of the Year award.
Bleacher Report recently posted a video of the Memphis Grizzlies phenom on Instagram and declared in the caption that the award for the league’s top freshman is “over before Thanksgiving.”
Based on a response from Nunn, the post lit his competitive flame.
Nunn has put up 16.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals a night. He is also shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 37.6 percent from beyond the arc.
On the other hand, Morant is averaging 19.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.1 steals per game. His overall shooting of 47.2 percent is close to Nunn’s numbers, but the 41.9 percent shooting from 3-point range gives Morant the edge.
However, Nunn is leading the Heat to one of the top three records (11-4) in the Eastern Conference. Morant’s Grizzlies have one of the worst records (5-10) in the league. Their teams’ performances could ultimately decide which one deserves the award.
New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry was impressed with Nunn’s performance against his team when the Heat guard scored 22 points against them last Saturday.
“I think what this kid has done has been phenomenal,” Gentry said. “It just doesn’t happen in this league where you’re not in the league and all of a sudden you’re a leading scorer on a team with a really good record and you seem to [be] a guy they go to early on. … He’s playing with so much confidence, it’s unbelievable. And he feels like not only does he belong, but feels like he’s the best player on the floor more than half the time. He hadn’t been that wrong really.”
The Rookie of the Year race is definitely not over if Nunn has anything to say about it. With roughly five months left before the playoffs, the Heat rookie has more than enough time to swing voters to his side.