With many D-League prospects looking to make early strong impressions this season, James Nunnally has gone from being a second round pick in this month's NBADL Draft, to now, a solid contributor off the bench for the Bakersfield Jam. Will he continue to climb up the team's depth chart ladder?
Though the Bakersfield Jam managed to split their two game "series" with the Rio Valley Grande Vipers to start the D-League season, the team still looks like they've yet to find a winning combination for success. Failing to find a rhythm offensively, the Jam also allowed the Vipers to score 113 points in each opening contest.
But one player who still managed to emerge and rise above his team's evident struggles this weekend was swingman James Nunnally.
One of the more promising prospects of this past month's NBA D-League Draft, the Jam made Nunnally one of its earlier selections, drafting him in the second round. So far, the UC Santa Barbara alum has made it pay off.
Through two contests, Nunnally has come off the bench to score 15 points per game. Having said that, because it's still so early in the NBADL season, perhaps numbers alone aren't enough to do Nunnally's contributions thus far justice.
What's more telling is the efficient manner in which the swingman has scored his points. Despite only averaging 19 minutes per game, Nunnally has still managed to pour in the points. Shooting 59% from the field, he has also sunk all 8 of his attempted free throws so far.
Nunnally has shown early on that he not only can shoot from all around the court, but also likes to attack the basket too. Entering his rookie season with a lot to prove, the swingman still appears lower on the Jam depth chart. If he carries this present momentum with him throughout the season, it'll be hard to keep him on the bench for long.
Even through his team's rough patches, Nunnally has undoubtedly been a bright spot in the early goings. In addition to having a +16 plus/minus rating in his team's opening night win, the UC Santa Barbara alum still managed to have a +9 rating during the Jam's subsequent loss.
Needless to say, Bakersfield is better with Nunnally on the court. He's been able to provide the squad with a much needed boost off the bench, and his impact is so far proven.
The NBA D-League is certainly a good spot for a player in the swingman's position. This past summer, he went undrafted in the NBA Draft after working out for teams like the Golden State Warriors. Perhaps additional time is necessary to hone his skills while becoming a more complete player. Already with steady basketball instincts, Nunnally should use his time in the minors to better his defensive prowess and ball-handling abilities.
And that's exactly what the Jam's new rookie could aim to do. Nunnally is without a doubt quite the efficient offensive player. It's only a matter of time before he begins to perfect his other talents. No stranger to hard work, the 22 year old trained in Sacramento this offseason with Guss Armstead.
NBA teams use the D-League to find diamonds in the rough with the most potential all season long. If his strong start to the season is any indication, Nunnally will soon climb the depth ladder enough to eventually catch the attention of a big league executive down the road.