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In Golden State, all the attention is on the stars, the dynasty, the championships, and rightfully so. Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Steph Curry and Draymond Green have formed arguably the greatest team of all-time.
However, there are some players on the Warriors without the shine. Some are just trying to show they belong. Kendrick Nunn, an undrafted player out of Oakland University, is excited about his chance to make the team.
“I’m just honored by the opportunity, and I think I deserve it,” Nunn said in an interview with Amico Hoops. “Hopefully, I can make that roster spot and contribute to the team.”
Nunn didn’t hear his name called during the NBA draft, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a big year. He was second in the NCAA in scoring average last season, putting up an incredible 25.9 points per game. The only player in the country who averaged more points than Nunn? University of Oklahoma standout Trae Young, now a member of the Atlanta Hawks.
“Absolutely I think I should have been a draft pick,” Nunn said. “Things happen, I mean it is what it is. I’m not down about it, I continue to move forward with my game. The draft is over at this point and everybody has to play basketball.”
Prior to the draft, Nunn worked out for an astounding 12 different NBA teams.
“I was traveling two or three times a week. The workouts went great. I showed my talents, I showed what I can do on both ends of the floor,” he said. “Through every workout, I was pretty consistent with my performance. I think I had a great summer.”
The “consistent” performances led to an abundance of NBA and overseas offers following the draft.
“After the draft, the [Golden State] Warriors called, we committed to them,” Nunn said. “I always believed in my talent and myself, so I believe that I can earn a spot on the roster. I took that route instead of signing overseas or going right away with the two-way deal or something like that.”
Being the focal point of a high-powered Oakland University offense, Nunn led the Golden Grizzlies to 19-wins and scored a whopping 777 points placing him third on their all-time single-season scoring list.
“I had a great relationship with [Greg] Kampe for my two-years that I was at Oakland,” Nunn said. “He believed in me as a player. … He gave me a lot of freedom. He knew that I was a gamer.”
While the Golden Grizzlies won 19-games, they ultimately failed to receive a bid for the NCAA Tournament. Nunn’s competitive personality is still pondering over what could have been.
“I only had one year there. I didn’t accomplish what I would like to accomplish and my goal there, but we had our ups and downs that season,” he said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t get to the NCAA Tournament, and that was my last chance. I’m still a little bit upset about that.”
In Golden State, winning seasons and championships are a dime a dozen. With five-potential Hall-of-Fame players on the roster, a deep run in the postseason is a guarantee. However, Nunn will have to find ways to be productive without being a focal point in the offense.
“It’s all about fitting the team that you’re on. I know that I am going to a championship team, and they have established their team,’ he said. “What I can bring to the team wouldn’t necessarily be what I do best, and that’s in scoring. … Something that’s very important for me to bring is a lot of energy and my defensive ability, and that I can bring off the bench and help the team.”
Playing with so many superstars straight out of college is an exhilarating experience. However, Nunn is looking to compete with everybody; no matter their star-status.
“It’s exciting for me. Every time I step on the floor I compete, and I compete to win,” he said. “That’s my number one thing I always want to win. No matter who’s on the floor whether that’s one of my college teammates or the best player in the NBA. I want to compete and I want to try to dominate the game on both ends of the floor. Just being here with the Warriors it’s hard to explain, but those are the best players in the world.
“I’ve always had that dream of just playing in the NBA. To be on this specific team with multiple MVP guys and things like that it’s kind of a dream come true, but I am also working hard to accomplish some things at the same time.”
Nunn goes to the Warriors practice facility at least two times a day to work on his game, and he has been specifically intrigued by what he sees from the Splash Brothers.
“I pay close attention to Klay [Thompson] and he has a routine that he goes through after practice, that I’ve been watching closely,” Nunn said. “Steph [Curry] also. Just the way that they approach the game and their consistency is great. I’m glad to be a part of it and learn it and transition to my game.”
Being able to soak in information from the game’s greats will only make the lethal scorer an even more rounded player. The former Oakland University standout has a partial guarantee in his contract with the Warriors and is confident in his chances of making the team.
Furthermore, his winning attitude, lethal scoring, and defensive ability will make him a lock to fit in with the Warriors.
That’s fully guaranteed.