Jusuf Nurkic
Jusuf Nurkic
24-Year-Old CenterC
Portland Trail Blazers
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Fresh off signing a four-year, $48 million contract in early July, Nurkic enters the 2018-19 season with designs on a career-best campaign. The 2014 first-round pick enjoyed a solid 2017-18 campaign and encouragingly suited up for a career-high 79 games, but his numbers actually took a hit as compared to the 20 first games of his Portland tenure the year prior following a trade from the Nuggets. Nurkic still generated 14.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 blocks last season over 79 games, putting up a career-high 12.0 shot attempts and logging the second-highest usage rate of his career (26.2). The big man’s work on the defensive glass was at elite levels as well, putting up the highest defensive rebounding percentage of his career (26.5) on his way to 27 double-doubles. Given his well-rounded talents, Nurkic slots in at a level just below elite at the center position for Fantasy purposes if he can steer clear of the injury bug. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a four-year, $48 million contract with the Trail Blazers in July of 2018.
Bangs the boards again in win
CPortland Trail Blazers
March 21, 2019
Nurkic generated 13 points (6-8 FG, 1-2 FT), 10 rebounds and one block across 22 minutes in the Trail Blazers' 126-118 win over the Mavericks on Wednesday.
ANALYSIS
For a change, Nurkic's abbreviated minutes weren't a result of foul trouble. Instead, it was the Trail Blazers' comfortable lead in the second half that provided him some valuable time off after a highly efficient performance. Nurkic has now churned out five consecutive double-doubles, and he should enjoy a boost in usage to some degree as long as C.J. McCollum (knee) remains out. Notably, Nurkic had put up 21 and 15 shots, respectively, in 30-minute-plus workloads over the prior two games, which consisted of the game McCollum exited early and the two-guard's first absence; his reduced playing time Wednesday was the only factor preventing a recurrence of the same.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2017
2016
2015
2014
The 16th overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft, Nurkic spent his first two seasons in Denver, but ultimately fell out of the rotation during the 2016-17 campaign with the emergence of superstar Nikola Jokic. That prompted the Nuggets to look for a willing trade partner, which the Trail Blazers jumped at and ended up sending Mason Plumlee and a second-round pick to Denver, while getting back Nurkic and a first-round pick. It ended up being an absolute steal for the Trail Blazers, as Nurkic fit in seamlessly as the third option to Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. In 20 games following the trade, Nurkic ended up averaging 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.3 steals across 29.2 minutes, evidencing an all-around game that he'd never shown before. It was a huge bump in playing time from what the 22-year-old center was used to, but he showed no signs of discomfort in taking on a bigger role and nearly doubled his numbers in every category from what he'd averaged in 45 games with the Nuggets earlier in the year. With a full training camp to gel further with his Portland teammates, Fantasy owners should have high expectations for Nurkic in 2017-18. Nurkic should easily vault into the top-10 for centers in season-long Fantasy leagues and his potential to average a double-double will be enticing. The only real negative for Nurkic is the fact that he shoots just 57.1 percent from the free-throw line, which certainly hurts his value in rotisserie style formats. Still, one of the fastest risers in the NBA last season, Nurkic could be in store for his best full season as a professional and he's going into a contract year, which should add even more fuel to the fire. A lower-leg fracture that kept him out of the majority of the playoffs is something to monitor, but he's already expected back for training camp, so it shouldn't linger into the regular season. Nurkic's all-around production should translate to an elite Fantasy center.
As a rookie, Nurkic impressed with his rebounding and rim-protecting abilities, finishing the year with per-36 averages of 13.9 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 62 games. Injuries put a major damper on his sophomore campaign, however, as a lower-back strain caused Nurkic to miss the first two months of the season and 50 games in all. Nurkic made his debut on Jan. 2, but went on to battle wrist and hip injuries that would ultimately prevent him from ever establishing a rhythm. While his per-36 numbers were again strong, Nurkic converted just 41.7 of his field goals on a high volume (7.6 per game) relative to his workload (17.1 minutes per game). All indications are that Nurkic is back to full strength entering 2016-17 and is projected to serve as the undisputed No. 2 center behind Nikola Jokic after the team shipped Joffrey Lauvergne to Oklahoma City in the offseason, helping to clear room in what had become a crowded Denver frontcourt. While playing behind Jokic will limit Nurkic’s fantasy ceiling, his per-minute counting stat production has been outstanding when he's healthy, and coach Mike Malone showed a willingness to play the two big men alongside each other late last season. As a result, Nurkic is worth a look later in drafts with the hope that he plays his way into an expanded role.
Nurkic is one of the most exciting prospects for Nuggets fans as he showed a fearlessness last season that very few rookies possess. Through 62 games, he averaged 6.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, and 0.8 steals in 18 minutes per game while shooting 46 percent from the field and 64 percent from the free-throw line. Nurkic often found himself in foul trouble, likely a symptom of his overt confidence and willingness to put his body into his work. In fact, he finished top-five in the league in fouls per minute and struggled to stay in games with his overly aggressive nature. If he can hone in his aggressiveness and focus on beating teams with his elite skills, Nurkic could become a big threat for the Nuggets. What people really love is his ability to play defense, as he provides blocks and steals at an elite rate for a big man. New Nuggets coach Mike Malone got DeMarcus Cousins to play hard on both ends of the floor while taking on an ever-increasing role as a leader, and maybe Malone can do that for this youngster who has a similar skill set with a lower ceiling.
Jusuf Nurkic was drafted by the Bulls with the 16th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and then traded to Denver, along with the 19th pick (Gary Harris), for Doug McDermott. Nurkic is a space eater at 7-0, 280. He can score around the basket and should be a good defender in the low post. He's just 19 years old and should have time to learn behind Timofey Mozgov, JaVale McGee, and J.J. Hickson at center. Nurkic will most likely be tied to the bench in his rookie season unless the Nuggets shake up their roster a lot this season.
More Fantasy News
Double-doubles in victory Monday
CPortland Trail Blazers
March 18, 2019
Nurkic tallied 18 points (8-15 FG, 2-2 FT), 11 rebounds, and two assists in 31 minutes during Monday's 106-98 victory over Indiana.
ANALYSIS
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Big double-double in loss
CPortland Trail Blazers
March 17, 2019
Nurkic tallied 24 points (10-21 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 4-4 FT), 16 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block in 34 minutes during Saturday's 108-103 loss to the Spurs.
ANALYSIS
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Shines from free-throw line
CPortland Trail Blazers
March 13, 2019
Nurkic put up 20 points (6-14 FG, 8-9 FT), 12 rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes Tuesday in the Trail Blazers' 125-104 win over the Clippers.
ANALYSIS
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Limited playing time in thumping
CPortland Trail Blazers
March 10, 2019
Nurkic tallied 14 points (4-12 FG, 6-8 FT), nine rebounds, one assist, and one block in 22 minutes during Saturday's 127-120 victory over Phoenix.
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Ejected in overtime loss
CPortland Trail Blazers
March 8, 2019
Nurkic totaled 13 points (4-8 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 5-8 FT), 17 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one block in 34 minutes during Thursday's 129-121 loss to Oklahoma City.
ANALYSIS
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