Heat’s Kendrick Nunn stepping up when needed — which is happening more often

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Khobi Price, South Florida Sun Sentinel
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So will Kendrick Nunn’s latest showing of productivity when he’s called up in a pinch — a 25-point, eight-rebound outing in the Heat’s Friday win against the Washington Wizards — earn him discounted Big Face Coffee, Jimmy Butler’s coffee business?

Not quite.

“He ain’t getting no type of coffee from me,” Butler said. “That’s what he’s supposed to go out and do.”

Those kinds of performances came regularly last season during his first year in the NBA when he averaged 15.3 points (including 18 games of at least 20) in 67 regular-season games (all starts) en route to being the runner up for the Rookie of the Year behind Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant.

So it doesn’t come as a surprise to Nunn or the rest of the Heat when he’s able to contribute at a high level when his number is called.

Even when playing time hasn’t come as regularly as it did during his rookie year.

Nunn’s recorded five “did not play — coach’s decision” designations in the official scorebook this season despite being just as productive as he was last year.

His showing against the Wizards came after not playing in the previous three games despite being available.

“It’s tough, but we’re professionals so it’s our job to do that. I’m built to do that,” Nunn said. “Whether it’s starting, coming off the bench, DNP’s or whatever. Whatever minutes I get, I’ll always be ready for it.”

Nunn staying ready is something the Heat are counting on, with their rotations and lineups changing regularly due to injuries and varying player availability.

“He has great competitive character,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Nunn. “And he really works behind the scenes. It’s not by accident. He’s a great offensive spark to have off the bench.”

And with Avery Bradley out for the next few weeks and Goran Dragic sidelined with a sprained ankle for the Heat’s matchup against the New York Knicks on Sunday, the Heat will be in need of that spark.

“I think I’ve given them some trust to be able to trust me, to call on me whenever,” Nunn said. “I’ll produce. I believe the coaches trust me.”

Heat looking for stability

Spoelstra made it clear that the lineup change in the Heat’s matchup against the Wizards wasn’t “an indictment on anyone.”

In the win, Tyler Herro came off the bench for the first time this year after starting in all 14 of the previous games he played in this season.

With Dragic taking his place in the starting lineup, Herro finished with 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting, four assists and four rebounds in 29 minutes of action as a reserve.

Coming off the bench is a familiar role for Herro, who only started eight of the 55 regular-season games he played in last season.

“We’re just trying to stabilize it as much as we can. It’s certainly not an indictment on Tyler,” Spoelstra said, with Herro averaging 17.2 points on 44.9 percent shooting from the field, six rebounds and 3.9 assists this season. “He just has to manage whatever the narratives that are out there and continue to give us productive minutes. He’s getting better.”