|NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Bosnia C Jusuf Nurkic||06.12.14 at 9:00 am ET|
As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2014 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their two selections in the first round.
Weight: 280 pounds
Key 2013-14 stats (Adriatic League): 11.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 34.6 PER
Scouting report: Only 19 years old, Nurkic is one of the most dominant players in the talented Adriatic League. He only plays 15.4 minutes per game, but produced a 34.6 PER during that time this season, which is why he’s a projected first-round draft pick.
He may be chubby, but Nurkic has some of the quickest feet of the bigs in the draft, giving him potential as a rim protector. Using his long 86-inch wingspan, Nurkic is able to quickly hedge on the pick and roll and get back to the paint in time to protect the rim. He doesn’t block a lot of shots since his vertical is underwhelming, but he’s able to deter shots due to his presence.
But Nurkic’s offense is arguably the most appealing. He’s young and has a savvy post game, including a virtually unblockable spin into a jump hook go-to move. He has outstanding footwork and does a great job “finding the blue sky,” even if he’s not dunking over defenders.
Nurkic’s warts as a player stem from mental mistakes; he’s extremely foul prone (7.9 per 40 minutes), since he jumps at the sight of any movement and carelessly hacks opponents. He also seems to get down on himself and overreacts to bad calls by complaining to the referees or ignoring his coaches. Will Nurkic be able to endure the trials and tribulations of the NBA? If he can, he may turn out to be a steal on draft night.
How he fits: Drafting Nurkic with the No. 17 pick would give the Celtics a true center prospect they could draft and stash for two years as he develops his skills.
CelticsBlog: Adriatic League final four analysis
Fansided: Is Jusuf Nurkic the next Nikoloz Tskitishvili?
Video: Here is a video scouting report of Nurkic.