In a recent photo on Instagram, Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic teased fans with a quote on his return, while looking ripped in a workout photo.
We know who long Portland Trail Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic has been away from the NBA for, but it wasn’t until the last few months that we saw the progress he has been making physically in terms of strength and conditioning.
Before COVID-19 and the suspension of the NBA season, Nurkic was ready to return to the court. There was even a game decided where he would make his season debut.
His long-awaited return didn’t eventuate, but Nurk has kept up the hard work regardless. This photo of him grinding away in the gym fans and media excited for his return.
Before the NBA’s postponement, Nurkic had reportedly lost 10 – 15 pounds from his previous playing weight. Playing at a massive 280 pounds in his last NBA season, Nurkic still didn’t have any problems getting up and down the floor. He was mobile defensively, still being passable on the perimeter in comparison to this year’s starting center, Hassan Whiteside.
The variety of lower leg injuries over his career could maybe have been prevented if he was slightly lighter. Freak accidents like last year couldn’t have been helped, but if he was able to be more mobile while still keeping his hulk-like strength, then he can stay healthier while also being able to increase his workload and minutes.
Nurkic doesn’t look 280 pounds in the above image. There was a video floating around on social media before the NBA’s postponement, where Nurkic was stroking jump shots from the three-point line. If he is in the above shape when it comes time for the NBA to return, then playing more on the perimeter on both ends of the court could be a real positive.
Matching up with the likes of Anthony Davis at the three-point line, while still having the speed to get back to the rim. A lower playing weight could change the way the Blazers could defend, maybe even making more switching possible.
Offensively, Nurkic operates well from the high or low post as a passer, but being able to use more handoffs as a threat to drive from the perimeter could also open up the floor offensively for this team.
Nurkic’s quote that accompanied this photo – ‘ Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose. ‘
A great quote to get fans excited for the return of Nurkic, and the NBA season!