The Portland Trial Blazers Added a Much Needed Element to their team Sunday morning: Toughness
In comes Jusuf Nurkic. He stands at 7ft and weighs 280 pounds. He has a good touch around the rim and now gives the Blazers a big body down low for defense. The Blazers will finally have a matchup to go up against the bigger centers of the league.
When given the minutes, Nurkic has shown he can be an impact player. This year when he played 38 minutes against the Heat he put up 13 points, 18 rebounds, and 5 blocks. He can contest a lot of shots and will make other teams think twice about scoring in the paint. Then offensively, he is a great roll guy on the pick and roll. His large frame gives him the ability to bang down low and fight for 2nd chance rebounds on offense.
He scores mostly under the rim with 286 shots in the restricted area this year. However he can shoot the mid range shot as well, but didn’t shoot it that much in Denver.
He uses his big body to set solid screens in the PNR. He can score rolling in the PNR and cutting to the hoop by catching high passes.
Nurkic has never played with players like Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. His lanes to the basket will be wide with the attention those two get. He won’t be asked to be a main offensive threat, but he can pass to shooters when he gets doubled underneath the hoop.
He won’t be able to do all the things Plumlee did, but he will be able to do some. As well as bringing his own set of skills to the table.
Giving the Fans a Toughness
Nurkic gets in his opponents head a lot with his physical play and trash talk. As long as the Blazers can keep his attitude in check and not let it get out of hand, they will be able to use his attitude to their advantage. He provides a never back down mentality.
In a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers he had some words for King LeBron James after a big block.
He also wasn’t afraid to talk trash to big Joel Embiid.
Nurkic and Leonard will most probably see a lot of playing time together seeing as Leonard can space the floor and Nurkic can’t. Plus the fireworks that could ensue if either gets into a personal battle will be fun to watch.