Kendrick Nunn will face the Golden State Warriors on Friday to renew his acquaintances with the organization.
Though Nunn was never on the Warriors roster last season, he played for their G League team, the Santa Cruz Warriors. The rookie phenom, who is one of the league’s best first-year players this season, spoke up about his first time playing against the franchise that signed him to a contract but didn’t let him play in the NBA.
“I understood the business part of it,” Nunn said. “They loved me as a player, that’s why the signed me on draft night. So, I was thankful there. But the business side of it was I didn’t get the call-up like I wanted to, and they were trying to work things out.”
The injury-decimated Warriors need someone like Nunn, the NCAA’s No. 2 scorer during his final collegiate year, on their roster right now to keep them from falling further down the standings. They have the worst record in the NBA at 4-15, and Nunn could have helped them this season.
Instead, it is the Miami Heat who are rejoicing after they signed him on the last day of the 2018-19 season. He is the Heat’s second-leading scorer this season at 16.5 points per game behind Jimmy Butler.
Though he wasn’t given the opportunity to play in the NBA by the Warriors organization, Nunn felt a connection with them.
“I felt pretty close with the Golden State organization, if it was going to see games during the year, or them coming down, seeing us,” he said. “They were in our gym, so they were always around. I wasn’t practicing with them during the G League season, but some guys would come down and practice with us.”
DeMarcus Cousins, who played for Golden State last season, was one of those players to visit Nunn and his compatriots. Other members of the organization also came over from time to time.
“Boogie Cousins came down and practiced with us for a couple of weeks, for him to get back in shape to go back up,” Nunn explained. “Their coaches came down, the GMs, the staff was always around. We’d see them pretty often.”
Those practices were quite special to the G League players.
“Practicing with them was pretty much training camp and the preseason,” Nunn said. “Once I was assigned to the G League, it wasn’t as much.
“But now, I’ll get to see them again.”
Nunn is currently a key contributor to the Heat and a big reason why they are sporting a 12-5 record. He belongs in Miami and there is nothing the Warriors can do about it now except wonder what could have been.