ESPN’s Stephen A Smith has pleaded for more from Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic. The First Take personality praised the Bosnian big man’s ability but suggested Nurkic had a tendency to go missing in games. He said Nurkic stepping up on offense and on the defensive side of the ball when squaring up against Nikola Jokic, would be crucial if the Blazers were to beat the Denver Nuggets.
“That damn Jusuf Nurkic, he gets on my damn nerves.”
“I can’t hold it in anymore. He gets on my damn nerves. Jusuf Nurkic can play. This brother is not a scrub. He can play. He can really, really play offensively.”
“Talent wise, he’s one of the best big men in the game.”
“You’re 6-11, 280, 290. I understand the Joker can play, but what the hell about you Nurkic? He really gets on my damn nerves. He’s too talented to play so weak sometimes.”
“He can drop 30 anytime he wants to. He’ll drop 25-30 a night and disappear for three games. He makes me sick. He really does, because he’s so talented. It’s wasted talent half the time with him. For no reason, he just doesn’t show up… talent-wise, he’s one of the best big men in the game. We just don’t see it half the time because he wants to take time off.”
Kendrick Perkins laid some blame on Terry Stotts for not putting Nurkic in positions to success.
“When you look at Nurkic, it goes hand-and-hand.”
“You have to watch the position he [Terry Stotts] puts him in. He got him playing around the three-point line doing dribble hand-offs and popping and stretching the floor. Instead of establishing his seven-foot, 285-pound behind in the paint. That goes on Terry Stotts.
You can watch the discussion here.