James Nunnally is no stranger to the NBA. After a strong start to the season with the Bakersfield Jam, he was called-up by the Atlanta Hawks on January 11th. While he only appeared in four games with them, totalling 18 points in 54 minutes, the Hawks kept him around for two sets of 10-day contracts. However, when it was time to decide whether or not to keep him around for the remainder of the season, they opted to cut ties, replacing him with Cartier Martin.
Nunnally has also spent time with the Sacramento Kings and Miami Heat in the Summer League since going undrafted in the 2012 Draft. He even signed a contract with the Phoenix Suns to join their training camp roster before the start of the 2013-2014 season. While it didn't take long for them to waive him, it's clear that he is on the NBA radar and on the cusp of earning that highly coveted guaranteed contract. But until that day comes along, Nunnally finds himself in a familiar place: Playing for the Bakersfield Jam, solidifying his place as one of the best two-guards in the D-League.
So far this season, the 6-foot-7 guard is averaging 18.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He's ranked as the D-League's third best shooting guard in this week's Prospect Pyramid - which you can view here - trailing only Manny Harris and Kevin Murphy. He's also ranked as the eighth best prospect on the D-League's official site.
While it's been a rough season for the Jam, Nunnally has been one of their few bright spots. For a team that constantly sees players come and go as a result of them being affiliated to five different teams - Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks, L.A. Clippers, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz - he's been the one constant for them, putting up big numbers on a nightly basis. And on Wednesday night against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, he had another huge performance.
In 41 minutes, Nunnally scored a season-high, 43 points. He shot 15-for-24 from the field and 4-for-8 from three. He also pulled down five rebounds, dished out two assists and blocked one shot.
Nunnally got off to a really hot start in this one. In the opening quarter, he scored 11 of the Jam's 25 points. He was even better in the second quarter, pouring in 20 points on 7-for-8 shooting. However, despite his scoring barrage, the Jam faced a two-point deficit at the half, which turned out to be the closest they'd get for the rest of the night.
While Nunnally continued to put up numbers in the third quarter, Orlando Johnson and Peyton Siva came up big in the third, helping the Mad Ants gain some breathing room. In the fourth quarter, the game's leading scorer was held to just two points and Fort Wayne walked away with their 18th win of the season thanks to a balanced team effort.
Sadly, this is the last we'll see of Nunnally for nearly two weeks. After not being named an D-League All-Star, his next game is on February 24th, when the Jam take on the Idaho Stampede at home.