Who Is Jusuf Nurkic?

After a Disappointing First Half of the Season and the Trade Deadline Looming, the Portland Trail Blazers Brought a Bosnian to Portland

Portland sent fan favorite Mason Plumlee and a 2018 Second Round Pick to Denver for Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 First Round Pick. Not only does this trade give Portland three first round draft picks, but a true NBA center that can make an immediate impact.

Nurkic is a seven foot 280 pound Center from Bosnia. Picking up a basketball at 14, he was given a chance to play from a European Basketball Agent and started playing for some youth national teams. After a few years and a couple of more inches grown, Nurkic had gained enough attention to be drafted 16th in the 2014 draft.

He made a splash as a rookie. He started 27 games for the Nuggets and averaged seven points, six rebounds and a block in seventeen minutes per game. This was the same year the Nuggets traded away Timofey Mosgov to the Cavaliers and Javale McGee had injury problems. Therefore, Nurkic was able to take the center position and run with it.

So far this season, he’s had to battle for the center position with Nikola Jokic. There were talks that the two centers weren’t getting along too well this season with the split playing time. Denver made their choice between the two today, trading away Nurkic.

Nurkic is Different, but Potential is Great

Nurkic will not be the high-flying center that Plumlee was. He won’t be able to bring the ball up the court like Plumlee and won’t fly around the rim. However, he gives Portland a fundamentally sound and effective center. He can bruise with the best centers in the league and provide solid rim protection.


It will be a different look for Portland, but one that has the potential to have an immediate impact. That being said, a team like Portland with expendable contracts means they may not be finished. Stay tuned with Rip City Project for more details on all upcoming moves and rumors.

Plumlee, you will be missed. RCP has always been a fan of your play and for your consistent hard work. You left it all on the court every night and that attitude was the reason why the city of Portland fell in love with you. We wish you well.

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