Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic is off to a bumpy start to the 2018-19 season. The big fella has produced solid numbers in Portland’s three games, but his fit on the defensive end is still a work in progress. In Tuesday’s overtime loss to the Wizards, Nurkic was put to the test on the perimeter. The results were far from ideal. Washington forward Markieff Morris torched the Blazers by going 6-10 from beyond the arc.
Nurkic’s place in the modern NBA is far from settled. Several teams are committing to small-ball lineups, which could leave the Bosnian Beast on an island for long stretches.
The Ringer’s Danny Chau took a closer look at how Nurkic will fit into the changing landscape for NBA centers.
There is still a place for Nurkic in the league; not every team downsizes effectively, and those that can’t will still have to reckon with the Bosnian’s pure physicality in the painted area. But on most nights this season, there will be junctures in the game when Stotts will have to look elsewhere.
Nurkic is averaging 24 minutes per game through three contests. In Nurkic’s place, second-year big man Zach Collins has been featured in lineups that are tasked with defending small-ball frontcourts.
You can read Chau’s complete article at The Ringer.