June 28, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; A general view of the first round draft board at the conclusion of the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Sacramento Kings Cumulative Big Board - No. 14 Jusuf Nurkic

Jusuf Nurkic
Center, Bosnia
19 years old
6’11”, 280 lbs.

2013-14 Stats (with Cedevita of Adriatic League): 28 games, 16.6 MPG, 11.7 PPG (54.5% FG, 70.1% FT), 5.7 RPG, 0.7 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 1.6 TOPG

Measurements (via DraftExpress.com – 2013 Eurocamp): 7’2″ wingspan, 9’1.5″ standing reach, 23″ max vert, 21″ no step vert

Cumulative Ranking: 14th | Bryant’s Ranking: 18th | Scott’s Ranking: 10th

Jusuf Nurkic: THE BREAKDOWN

Scott: Every year, there are those foreign prospects who us “wannabe” experts can only scout through YouTube clips. And this year, one of those guys is Jusuf Nurkic. But I gotta say…in the limited action I’ve seen, Nurkic is an impressive interior player. Immediately, Nurkic reminded me of Nikola Pekovic — a big, yet mobile, center who attacks the basket and finishes well around the rim. Men that size don’t usually move that well, and it appears Nurkic has talent to go with his solid footwork.

Bryant: Nurkic’s per-40s stats are insane, and he’s getting enough playing time where the normal time-limits for foreign prospects (who so often get far less time then us armchair scouts would like) isn’t an issue. He’ also got insane size — a lineup would Cousins AND Nurkic would just beat people up in the low post and on the boards. And he’s young enough that a good defensive coach could develop him into a titan in the paint. Mainly, I think the biggest concern is his athleticism: a 7’2″ wingspan is fantastic, but a 23 inch max vertical… ouch. (For reference, Cousins got a 27 inch at the NBA combine in 2010). Still, you can’t expect a 280 pound big guy to be all that athletic, but I’d worry about how the Kings would guard quicker power forwards.

Scott: Definitely a valid concern, as we sometimes hear about the Kings going after centers to move Boogie to PF. Offensively, it should work, but defensively, it could be a problem. It appears Nurkic is quick enough to hold his own and clog the lane, but his athleticism doesn’t lend itself to shot-blocking. On one hand, the Kings might be hurt defensively playing against a stretch “4.” But with Cousins and Nurkic, it seems like they could punish the opponent on the other end of the court down low.

Bryant: Yeah, I’m not quite sure how I’d feel about the Kings taking Nurkic at 8 – he doesn’t help the shooting woes and might complicate the defense – but if they traded back, he is the second best center on the boardt for a reason. A Nurkic selection would certainly raise a ton of questions about what the organization thinks about a front court duo. Offensively, it would be punishing inside, which might be enough of a reason to do it.

Three Questions with Ed Isaacson of NBADraftBlog.com

(Be sure to follow Ed on Twitter and check out his full scouting reports at NBADraftBlog.com.)

1. What’s your opinion of Nurkic and at what pick do you think he deserves consideration?

Ed: Nurkic is a very good long-term prospect, but I don’t know if he would be the best for the Kings. With a couple of young players like Cousins and McLemore to build around, I think the Kings best bet is to bring a player who can step in with the team right away and contribute. Nurkic has very good size and a big body, and he knows how to score in a variety of ways in the lane area. There seem to be some conditioning issues and he really doesn’t know how to defend properly. I think it could be a few years before he is ready to make the leap to the NBA, so the Kings are better off adding a piece now.

2. Is Nurkic good enough for the Kings to justify moving DeMarcus Cousins to power forward?

Ed: Eventually he could be, but I wouldn’t consider it if I were Sacramento. Their offensive games have a lot of similarities, especially with their backs to the basket, so I don’t know how that would affect Cousins’ game, even if it continues to evolve.

3. Does Nurkic’s game remind you of any players currently in the NBA?

Ed: The first person he reminded me of was a smaller, college Roy Hibbert. Solid fundamentals, especially on offense, and the potential to eventually be a good defensive stopper, though likely not Hibbert-level.

A Royal Pain – Sacramento Kings Cumulative Big Board

15. Nik Stauskas – Shooting Guard, Michigan
14. Jusuf Nurkic – Center, Bosnia

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