Jusuf Nurkic goes into the 2022-23 season with a newly minted four-year, $70 million contract as the Portland Trail Blazers undisputed starting center.
But where does the 28-year-old measure up among big men across the league? According to HoopsHype, Nurkic ranks 15th behind the likes of Chicago Bulls’ Nikola Vucevic, Boston Celtics’ Al Horford, San Antonio Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl and Atlanta Hawks’ Clint Capela.
2021-22 was the first time we’ve seen Jusuf Nurkic look like his pre-injury prime self and the results were impressive, despite the sample size being limited to just 56 games.
Nurkic has offensive versatility to his game, putting him a level above the role-playing starting 5s in the league. He can be tasked with creating and scoring from the mid-post even if his range doesn’t extend to the three-point line, where his solid passing allows him to find cutters and spot-up shooters. Nurkic also sets strong screens and is a beast on the glass on both ends of the floor, helping clean up messes and score on putbacks.
In addition, with a defensively versatile Jerami Grant now in the mix in Portland’s frontcourt, Nurkic now has a partner who can help mask some of his deficiencies on the defensive end, which should allow him to shine further.
Injury has set the big man back in recent years. Perhaps this is the season he consistently plays at prime Bosnian Beast level improving on career averages of 12.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals.
Do you think Nurkic deserves to be a Top 10 center? Chime off in the comments below.