Playing an impressive stretch recently, Jusuf Nurkic could potentially fit as the Portland Trail Blazers’ definitive second option.
Call your doctor, because Nurk-Fever might be back – and stronger than ever. The Portland Trail Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic has strung together some of the best basketball of his career. With his overall solid season and impressive stretch recently, the club may want to continue targeting him at the same regularity going forward.
On New Year’s Day, the Bosnian Beast made history by being the first NBA player to go for five blocks and five steals, while also recording more than 20 points and 20 rebounds (24, 23). Since the Blazers’ one-point win over the Golden State Warriors on December 27, Nurkic has averaged 22.2 points and12.5 rebounds, which ranks sixth in the NBA over that stretch. He’s also been efficient, shooting .588 from the field and .750 at the line.
He boasts a +8.5 plus-minus, and the Blazers have gone 4-2. He’s shown both aggression and savviness down low, made clever passes, and shown off some of the slickest footwork I’ve seen from him. In some instances, he looks less “Beast” and more Gazelle.
But perhaps the most important factor in these last six games is the fact Nurkic is playing 31.3 minutes per game, up from the 26.6 he experienced all before that. Playing at this rate and even beyond could allow the Blazers to be a more dynamic offensive team, able to utilize both the perimeter and the low post, while acting as a defensive anchor throughout the game.