The main question hanging over the Toronto Raptors free agency plans this year relates to the point guard position. While players like Dennis Schroder, Kendrick Nunn, and Lonzo Ball could all change teams, the Raptors must first decide if they are going to re-sign franchise legend Kyle Lowry after a disappointing season.
Lowry could be intrigued by a return if his conditions are met, but Toronto fans shouldn’t get their hopes up given his age, desire for another big contract, and will to win. If that happens, they should spare no expense to potentially land a high-priced replacement.
The Miami Heat, who could be a potential Lowry suitor, might not be able to get the Raptors to take on Goran Dragic, and Tyler Herro is apparently off-limits. If they want to either pull off a sign and trade or let the chips fall where they may, Nunn might be on his way out, with Toronto a prime destination.
While he can be mainly inconsistent at times, Nunn’s best basketball is still in the windshield rather than the rear-view mirror, and he could be the best fit if Nick Nurse and, potentially, Masai Ujiri wants to make the backcourt younger and faster.
Kendrick Nunn could be the score-first point guard the Toronto Raptors need.
Nunn’s scoring might’ve decreased this season, but that is not indicative of his performances as a whole. Nunn improved his shooting splits to 48% from the field (up from 44%), and 38% from 3-point range (up from 35%). He remains a quality offensive player even as Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo take shots away from him.
Per Cleaning the Glass (subscription required), the Heat average 3.2 points per 100 possessions more when Nunn is on the floor. His defense remains shaky, which could make him a tough sell for a team that leaned on Lowry’s tenacity for almost a decade, but he is a three-level scorer who could hit the ground running.
Nunn is a restricted free agent, so the Heat will have the right to match any offer sheet he signs with Toronto. However, if the Heat want Lowry, Nunn must unfortunately be discarded, and the Raptors should be able to create one of the league’s more high-octane backcourt combos with him and Fred VanVleet.
Replacing Lowry is a very tall order. The Raptors need someone who eats nails for breakfast, is willing to take big shots irrespective of the situation, and has the passing skill to facilitate ball movement on offense. For all his warts, Nunn checks those boxes, meaning the Raptors should go all-in on him for the 2021-22 season and beyond.