James Nunnally added to Suns training camp roster

The Phoenix Suns added forward James Nunnally to the roster, giving the team 18 players heading into training camp, which begins Monday. The 23-year-old from UC Santa Barbara has played in the NBA Summer League the last two seasons but hasn’t made an opening day roster.

He played for the Bakersfield Jam, the Suns’ D-League affiliate, and averaged 10 points and 40 percent shooting from three-point range in 2012-13.

This summer, Nunnally averaged 13 points and 2.7 rebounds in just 19.6 minutes per game with the Miami Heat. The 6-foot-7, 205 pound forward shot 28 three-pointers and hit 63 percent from long-range. In his senior year in 2011-12, Nunnally averaged 16 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game for UCSB.

The addition likely doesn’t mean much for the Suns other than give them another body to even out the roster for camp. Nunnally, Ish Smith and Malcolm Lee could be the first three players on the chopping block considering the depth at the small forward and guard positions.

  • Scott

    The problem, as I see it, is he doesn’t take enough 3s. His volume is on the low side.

  • BCrayZ

    Poor info.

    This dude almost single handedly beat our summer team.

    Scott is wrong, as that game he shot enough 3s to score 21 points, just in the 2nd half. Kevin took the easy & lazy way out on this. Fact is that, with his length & athleticism, he has a reputation as being a world class defender (think lock down.). We need him on the wing. Make room. Make room to take back LB & Louis also.

    MUST reunite that “killer bench unit.” Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • Scott

    @BCrayZ -

    Sure, in THAT game Nunnally hit a bunch of 3s. But research shows that was abnormal for him.

    In 4 years of college, averaging about 30 min per game, Nunnally hit fewer than two 3 pt shots per game. A player isn’t much of a perimeter threat if they’re only hitting 2 of those shots per 30 minutes.

    While he didn’t take as many 3s in his first two years of college, in his last two years he was jacking up more than 5 three point shots per game, but he was still making slightly less than 2.

    In the D-League – which is I guess where he spent his time while with Miami – he attempted 3.5 perimeter shots and made 1.4 of them, in 20 minutes per game.

    Playing in Greece, which is also what he did last year, in two games averaging about 30 min, he launched 2.5 perimeter shots, making just 1.

    What this boils down to is if you play him starter’s minutes, he’ll probably take 3-4 three point shots and make fewer than 2. And if you give him 2nd unit minutes, he’ll put up about 3 three pointers and make about 1.

    Nunnally has a good 3 point percentage probably because he can hit the shot and he’s good about decision-making on when to take them. But it doesn’t seem right to characterize him as a volume 3 point shooter.

    So he’s a competent 3 point shooter, but not a volume 3 point shooter. Christmas attempts more 3 point shots than Nunnally does, but is more streaky as to whether or not he makes them.

    Aside from that, Nunnally has the size to play SG. He’s listed on DX as being 6′ 5″, so he’s basically the same size as Christmas.

    Nunnally has some other stats in his favor. He gets to the line about 3-7 times per 40 minutes, and he’s a consistently good FT shooter.

    Christmas gets to the line about 2-8 times per 40, and while he can be good with his FT shooting, he lacks consistency.

    Nunnally also doesn’t foul much, especially in comparison to Christmas.

    So what Nunnally looks like to me is mainly a more consistent, more efficient version of what Christmas brings.

  • Scott

    A correction (for me) and a note on height …

    While I thought the implication was that he’d been picked up at some point by the Heat, so far as I can tell Nunnally never played for the Heat – or any NBA team – outside of SL. He went undrafted in 2012.

    Nunnally was listed as being 6′ 5″ in college, but is currently listed at 6′ 7″ by the D-League. His weight is the same in both cases, 205 lbs.

    In general, I’d say he’s a better choice than Christmas, due to his consistency. I don’t hold high hopes for him, but Nunnally could play a Tucker-like role as a tenacious role player who doesn’t cost the team shots or possessions.

  • Scott

    BTW, are the Suns beating the Sixers in the rebuild department?

    The Sixers picked up Noel and Carter-Williams in the draft, and they have 2 more picks coming next year.

    The Suns picked up Len and Goodwin, and they have 3 picks coming next year.

    While it’s close, I’m thinking Len beats Noel and Goodwin beats MCW.

    As a measuring stick over the next couple of years, the Suns might compare themselves to the Sixers to see how they’re doing.

  • Daniel

    Nunnally is a boss!! this guy has an overall nice game, he has the physical attributes, plus hes a UCSB alumni! This would be a great addition to the bench! Jared Dudley type player with more athleticism!

  • RayRay A.

    Scott, you are trying to compare apples to oranges…………. Suns in no way compare to the 76ers, because the Suns were further along in being closer to a championship than the Sixers were in recent years. Plus, they play in a far less competitive conference, with far less successes, with the exception of their lone appearance in the Finals during the AI years. Silly comparison…… Try again. I think as of right now, the Suns are the worst team in the league, and the worst team in Suns history. Bottom out. No reason to believe the Sixers are further along in the rebuilding process, cuz the Suns are barely starting out. MCW and Noel are no comparison to Len and Goodwin…. Why? Because they are all different types of players.

  • RayRay A.

    Two horrible teams. And the Sixers are not a franchise I would like to compare our precious Suns to for anything, at anytime. Right now, we cannot talk trash to any team in the league until they make the court, and we see for our fanselves just what kind of team they play like. Its an experiment of McD, with nothing having been proven at all. Even EBledsoe acquisition cannot be measured or quantified because it is all based on his potential on how he performed with the Clips, with different players.

  • Ty-Sun

    I would disagree with the statement that the Suns are the worst team in the NBA and that they are the worst team in Suns history. I think that the Sixers will be worse this year and that last season’s Suns were the worst Suns team ever. And as for comparing Len and Noel, Len kicked Noel’s butt in the one game they played against each other in college. That’s the comparison that counts the most.

  • NOitall

    First, why are you guys expending so much energy breaking down the game of a guy that will never make this team?

    We have 17 guys who are guaranteed money right now [either fully or partially]. We have to cut that to 15 at the most, if not cut to 14, and that is only if we decide to keep an inactive guy on the payroll.

    That means Ish and Malcolm are more than likely to get paid and sent packing. Additionally, Dionte Christmas has an uphill battle to prove his partial guarantee is worth keeping him around.

    BTW, in regards to the 76′ers, they don’t even have 5 legit starters on their roster. After Young, there isnt a guy on that team who would even start for us. That is how bad they are.We aren’t going to be that bad. My guess is that we end up with the 3-5 pick. Boston, Orlando, Philly will be far worse than us. Sacto will be a mess. Toronto won’t be good at all.

  • Ty-Sun

    At this point I’d say that Nunnally’s chance to make the team will rely on chemistry is as much as talent. The Suns have enough cap space to cut higher paid players -like Brown – this season if they think that a player like Nunnally, Christmas or anyone else is a better fit on the team and has more upside. It’s unlikely but not many people thought that Tucker would do more than warm the end of the bench before last season began.

  • Scott

    I believe, at this point, Nunnally will beat out Christmas, Lee, and Smith.

    So Nunnally and Kravtsov will be the guys on the bubble who make the team.

    Nunnally sounds a lot like Tucker, but 20 lbs lighter and with a working 3 point shot.

  • NOitall


    Suns are sitting with 13 guys they are not cutting, including Shannon Brown [@Ty-Sun no way he gets cut - if that were the case, they would have done it before his full guarantee kicked in].

    That leaves Kravstov [$1.5M], Ish [$985K], Lee [$855K], Christmas [partial] and Nunnally [non-guarantee].

    To keep Nunnally, it will cost them league min PLUS someone else’s guarantee. That would most likely be Christmas, since it is probably the lowest amount.

    However, there is no guarantee they even add one of these guys.

    If they carry 14 guys, Kravstov is the guy they are keeping. Suns need bigs, badly. We have only three real bigs on the roster with Kravstov. Plus, they aren’t eating $1.5M to keep a fringe SF or SG.

    My guess is that Kravstov stays, and Lee, Smith and Christmas are fighting to prove their value as the 15th roster guy. Since Suns are obligated on all three, and have to pay them anyway, I see them keeping either Smith or Lee because they are paying anyway so you might as well carry the guy on the roster.

    Nunnally has ZERO chance of making this roster. Christmas has 10% chance.

  • Scott

    @NOitall -

    I agree that it looks like Kravtsov should stay. He might be a better defender at PF than Markieff. I don’t know if his PER is for real, or if it is distorted by too few minutes, but 14.47 puts him ahead of everyone but Bledsoe, Dragic, Gortat, and Frye.

    As for which of the guards on the bubble will stay, I still think the logical choice is Nunnally, and the decision won’t be based on money. Unlike the other players, Nunnally has the potential to stick like Tucker has done. That’s because he gives consistent effort on both sides of the court and he makes good decisions.

    Heck, Nunnally could even replace Tucker, in that he’s a better 3 point shooter. But as I see it they can play together, in that Nunnally would play SG and Tucker – who is stronger and heavier – would play SF.

    As for Brown, I was confused that the Suns decided to keep him and pay the full amount. I thought for sure he’d be cut and the costs saved. But the rationale given at the time was that the money saved was so minimal it wasn’t worth it.

    So my take is that under McD, the Suns are willing to spend more money fiddling around with players on smaller contracts, trying to get the right mix of talent and potential for future play. In that scenario, I see Nunnally as a keeper, and Christmas, Lee, and Smith out.

    And if the Suns felt they found enough talent coming in from cheaper guys, I think they’d buy out Brown to make room.

  • Noitall


    sure, if it were a couple of hundred grand, no big decision. We are talking about one spot for lee, smith, kravstov, christmas and Nunnally. Cutting all of the others will cost them about $3.5 million. Nunnally has no shot.

    Kravstov and Christmas will probably be kept. Pretty sure Kravstov is a lock.

  • Scott

    @Noitall -

    I’m a pretty cheap guy myself, but Sarver has been known to spend. A few years back he bought out Pavlovic and Wallace, and that wasn’t cheap.

    I’m guessing that McD is working within financial parameters that he and Sarver already agreed upon. If McD says the difference between keeping and releasing Brown was negligible, that gives an idea of how much wiggle room is there.

    I think Brown was due at least half of his $3.5m, so maybe $1.75m is “negligible.”

    I foresee McD keeping Kravtsov and Nunnally, and waiving Lee, Smith, and Christmas. Based on the info I see on the VotS salaries page, I guess the buyouts for the 3 players will cost maybe a little more than $2m.