There are as many question marks surrounding Jusuf Nurkic as there are eye-popping numbers. The Denver Nuggets decided to bet on the latter by taking the 19-year-old Bosnian center as part of a trade with the No. 16 pick.
Nurkic was selected by the Bulls but will go to Denver in the deal for Doug McDermott. The Nuggets will also get the 19th pick from Chicago.
Nurkic played in the Adriatic league over the past few seasons and had much success in limited minutes. Bouncing around a few teams in his young career and also not fitting with the style of Cedevita, his most recent team, he played just 16 minutes per game. But Nurkic's impact during those minutes was huge. The 6'11, 280 pound center averaged 11.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in 2013-14 league play.
Nurkic is a physical post player whose strength and touch for a 19-year-old are unique. He bullies smaller players, can turn over either shoulder and his jumper also shows promise to improve. The next step for the young big man will include learning how to stay out of foul trouble. He shows the potential for being a capable defender but will need to develop those instincts if he wants to stay on the floor.
Nurkic's buyout situation will allow him to join the NBA right away, and the Nuggets are fortunate for that. Their two centers, J.J. Hickson and Javale McGee both battled injuries last year. Hickson is currently recovering from an ACL injury and hopes to be ready for training camp.