With the draft fast approaching, we will be taking a look at potential draft prospects with writers who have covered the prospects in college or -- in the case of international prospects -- spent a great deal of time scouting them. Today, we look at Jusuf Nurkic (C - Bosnia) with some help from Brian Schroeder (@Cosmis) Hardwood Paroxysm’s resident international draft guru.
What are Nurkic’s strengths? Weaknesses?
Nurkic's strengths are his size, relative mobility, rebounding and scoring touch. He's listed at 6’11”, 280 pounds and obviously doesn't look as though he's done filling out. He profiles as one of the better offensive rebounders in Europe, and generally seems to have a good understanding of where he's supposed to be and what he's supposed to do. He doesn't have much of a jumpshot but is a 70 percent foul shooter with solid mechanics. As an added bonus, he's not a huge defensive liability, despite not playing very vertically, due to his good quickness and a seeming willingness to contest shots and move around.
How do you think his game translates to the NBA?
His game would seem to translate best as an energy player for a couple years until he figures out the best ways to score on NBA-caliber big men. Even though he's much bigger than most of the players he competes against, he already seems to have worked on a number of ball skills in and around the paint instead of relying on his strength and size alone, an encouraging sign for a 19-year-old.
What style of play do you think he'd be most comfortable in?
While he would likely fit best in a half-court system, his level of activity would suit him well to essentially anywhere. He has real potential as a straight line pick and roll player, as he goes to finish strong as often as he can and draws more than his fair share of fouls. Defensively, he's probably not suited to chasing other bigs around the perimeter, but again, he seems to give a solid effort, so I doubt he'd be a huge liability.
What NBA player would you compare him to?
The easy comparison is a more agile version of Minnesota's Nikola Pekovic, and it's not a bad comparison. Of course, NBA player comparisons come with their own set of risks, specifically for international prospects, as no one is ever a carbon-copy of someone else. His frame and general skillset compares favorably to Mike Muscala's, minus Muscala's shooting ability and plus 50 pounds or so.
What do you see as his NBA ceiling (All-Star/Starter/Spot-Starter/Rotation Player)?
His ceiling probably lies somewhere around Pekovic's, a solid, dependable starter. His solid mobility, activity and rebounding acumen should make him a rotation player at worst, depending of course on who takes him and what role he sees to start, as he will surely need some time to adjust to the NBA game.
Reporter: Robby Kalland