With the 29th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Brooklyn Nets selected 19-year-old forward Dzanan Musa from Bosnia and Herzegovina, then followed up with 20-year-old forward Rodions Kurucs from Latvia shortly after with the 40th overall pick.
Both players were on hand to hear their names called at Barclays Center on Thursday night. And Nets general manager Sean Marks expects both players to be in Brooklyn next season rather than remaining with their European teams any longer.
“We love the age, both guys, there’s a lot of development there with their bodies,” said Marks. “Again, I think both really great development pieces for our coaching staff, performance staff to get their hands on. I’m intrigued about what they can do for both players.”
The 6-foot-9, 195-pound Musa has been playing professionally for three years with Cedevita in the Croatian League. He’s grown into one of Europe’s elite scorers, winning the EuroCup Rising Star Trophy for the 2017-18 season, and was named the Most Improved Player at the 2017 Adidas Eurocamp.
Musa has played regularly in international competition for Bosnia and Herzegovina and was named MVP of the 2016 FIBA U17 World Cup after averaging 34.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
“Very dynamic,” said Marks. “Obviously his offensive skills, pretty special. The size for position. He’s been playing at a very high level, very competitive young man.”
Like Musa, Kurucs is a young European who was often projected as a Nets selection in mock drafts over the last few months. He’s also a similarly sized small forward at 6-9, 210.
“Both young men have been playing at a high level against very good competition,” said Marks. “So they’ve been playing against some of the elite basketball players in the world. And this is going to be another step up for them. The international game is something I admire and (Nets coach) Kenny (Atkinson) admires. We’ve followed them closely.”