Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn believes he should be named Rookie of the Year over Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant, citing his contribution to winning basketball.
"I'm Rookie of the Year," Nunn told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. "I think people will say that [Morant] is Rookie of the Year, but I don't believe it. The most value should be in the wins. And we're both starting guards on teams, and our team has been holding it down. We're a playoff team, so go ahead and give that Rookie of the Year to Kendrick Nunn."
Nunn started all 62 of the Heat's games this season, which saw them sitting fourth in the Eastern Conference at 41-24 at the time the season was suspended. In 29.8 minutes per game, he averaged 15.6 points, 3.4 assists, and 2.7 rebounds on 44.8 percent from the field and 36.2 percent from three, proving to be a reliable contributor on a Heat team that surprised many.
"I'm a starting guard in this league," Nunn added. "I've done that all season long and we've been a winning team, a playoff team. So I definitely proved myself there."
Meanwhile, Morant has been the consensus frontrunner for the award and was unanimously selected in ESPN's Rookie of the Year vote, receiving all 70 first-place votes. The high-flying point guard boasts season averages of 17.6 points, 6.9 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game on 49.1 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from three, guiding the Grizzlies well beyond their pre-season expectations.
At the time the season was suspended, Memphis held a 32-23 record and sat in the eighth seed, 3.5 games clear of ninth-place, putting them on track to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016-17.
No.1 pick Zion Williamson also made a late case with his impressive 19-game stretch, averaging 23.points and 6.8 rebounds per game, however Nunn says he wasn't paying too much attention to his fellow rookies.
"I really wasn't watching," Nunn said of Morant and Williamson. "I really wasn't watching their numbers or anything like that. I'm just watching them in the game, and see how they're playing and just trying to scout 'em, getting ready to play 'em."
Morant later responded to Nunn's claim on Twitter:
https://t.co/HVFc4rq5Nb pic.twitter.com/8Hx0BtqsaG- Ja Morant (@JaMorant) April 13, 2020
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