While the playoff race in the Western Conference continues to heat up, eyes are already on the offseason, and the players likely to cash in.
Although Nurkic has averaged 14.1 points and 11.4 rebounds over his last five games, and is a key reason Portland has a 13-game winning streak going, Favale sees a regression to the mean.
Jusuf Nurkic’s inclusion is less about outside admirers padding his bank account and more about the possibility of him failing to make good on his next contract.
Indeed, after endearing himself to all of Portland with a brilliant performance over 20 appearances last season, his 2017-18 campaign has played out with textbook duality.
Favale praised Nurkic’s adjustments in taking fewer mid-range shots, but questioned his motor and his shot blocking outside of Portland’s defensive schemes.
Can his rim protection hold outside of Portland’s particularized schemes? Will he ever boast a reliable shot from pick-and-pop range? Does he have it in him to remain in his wheelhouse for an entire season? Even if it requires him to take fewer shots, log fewer minutes and occasionally watch from the sidelines during crunch time?
Nurkic is averaging 14.1 points and 8.6 rebounds on the season.