Can Nunn help Wizards' 3-point shooting?


WASHINGTON -- One glance at Kendrick Nunn's 3-point numbers for this season would not suggest he will help lift the Wizards' below-league-average outside shooting. But Nunn has a history as a long-range marksman that suggests considerable upside in that area.

Nunn has also been shooting much better as of late, following a slow start to the season with the L.A. Lakers. Despite making just 33.1% of his threes on the year, Nunn is shooting 38% from three on 4.2 attempts over his last 19 games.

That is much more in line with what he shot in his final year with the Miami Heat, in 2020-21. That season, he was second in the NBA, Nunn made 38.1% on 5.7 attempts per game. He was above average in both percentage and volume from 3-point range.

Nunn then missed the entire 2021-22 season due to a bone bruise in his knee before returning this year with the Lakers. He believes his recent upturn is related to that timeline.

"Just the rhythm of the game, I think the flow of the game. Just getting that back," he said.

"Obviously, I was out last year with the injury. Just being able to get those game reps in season. Game reps are a lot different than practices and working out and things like that. So, just getting a rhythm down."

Nunn, 27, has long been able to count 3-point shooting as a strength. As a senior at Oakland University in 2017-18, he shot 39.4% from three on a preposterous 11.4 attempts per game. He made the second-most threes (134) in Division I basketball that season.


Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. is certainly hopeful Nunn can reclaim his 3-point prowess.

"He has the ability to put the ball on the floor, create and shoot the three off the dribble. If I'm correct, he's a [35.9]% career 3-point shooter. So, I anticipate that number going up," Unseld Jr. said.

Unseld Jr. said he believes Nunn's shooting numbers will improve the more he plays with the Wizards, as he gets accustomed to their playbook and personnel. 

It is no guarantee Nunn will be a net positive in the 3-point shooting department, given he was traded for Rui Hachimura, who while inconsistent this year, was still shooting a slightly higher percentage (33.7%) than Nunn on the season when the deal was struck.

Hachimura was also one of the Wizards' best 3-point shooters last year (44.7%), so just like Nunn, there was potential for him to improve down the homestretch of this season. Nunn has shown the ability to make threes at a higher volume than Hachimura, but it's been a few years since he was reliable from long range.

Nunn, though, had a long layoff due to injury, so it's understandable he would need time to get reacclimated and regain his shooting rhythm. Maybe he'll do that in Washington and, if he does, it would certainly come in handy for a team that ranks bottom-third in the NBA in all 3-point shooting categories.