Heading into the 2021-22 NBA season, the play of center Jusuf Nurkic remains one of the biggest question marks for the Portland Trail Blazers. In HoopsHype’s Top 22 Center Rankings for the 2021-22 Season, Nurkic came in at No. 13 with room to grow.
HoopsHype writer Frank Urbina said Nurkic likely would have placed higher on this list had he not suffered his career-altering leg injury in 2019, but the Portland big man still has enough offensive and defensive skills to go around.
But since returning, the big Bosnian hasn’t quite looked like that version of himself. Even so, Nurkic remains a sturdy force down low, battering opponents with heavy shoulders on post-up attempts and surprising foes with sneaky dimes from the elbow.
Even his rim-protecting skills remain solid, though not at the level they once were.
With a solid offseason and more health, Urbina said Nurkic has great potential for a breakout campaign.
Perhaps another offseason of rehabilitating and training will help Nurkic find his old form – he’s still just 27 years old, after all. If that does happen, don’t be surprised to see him outperform his position in this ranking.
Nurkic’s placement puts him just ahead of Milwaukee Bucks champion Brook Lopez (No. 14) and Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes (No. 15). Nurkic sits just behind Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (No. 12) and Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (No. 11).
To no surprise, the 2020-21 NBA MVP and Nurkic’s former teammate, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic placed No. 1 on HoopsHype’s list.
You can read Urbina’s full piece here.