Just six players have gotten drafted outside the top 10 then won Rookie of the Year:
- 1958: Woody Sauldsberry (No. 60)
- 2017: Malcolm Brogdon (No. 36)
- 1988: Mark Jackson (No. 18)
- 1953: Don Meineke (No. 12)
- 2014: Michael Carter-Williams (No. 11)
- 1975: Jamal Wilkes (No. 11)
Kendrick Nunn wants to one-up them.
Undrafted last year, Nunn spent most of last season on the Warriors’ minor-league affiliate. He signed with the Heat late last season, but didn’t play, preserving his rookie status for this season.
Now, Nunn is flourishing and eying a big goal.
I definitely feel like I’m the Rookie of the Year. 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 that award.
Nunn has a good chance. He ranks second among rookies in points (16.9), third in assists (3.3) and tied for second in steals (1.3) per game. There are some holes in his all-around game, but scoring usually carries the most weight, and Nunn also has the top true shooting percentage (57.8) among the top six rookie scorers.
There’s plenty of competition – including the Grizzlies’ Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke, Knicks’ R.J. Barrett, Warriors’ Eric Paschall, Heat’s Tyler Herro and Hornets’ P.J. Washington. Another undrafted player, Raptors guard Terence Davis, deserves consideration. When No. 1 pick Zion Williamson gets healthy, he’ll have a chance to get back into the race.
But Nunn has at least earned credibility to talk about himself this way.