NBA Comparison: Nikola Pekovic/Zaza Pachulia
Strengths: Standing at 6’11”, he has an amazing balance and mobility for the center position … He possesses a really solid and robust frame, almost 280 lb, combined with a solid 7’2” wingspan, so he’s well suited to banging in the post at the NBA level … He possesses excellent footwork which makes him really effective in pick and roll situations … soft hands and touch, he’s able to conclude with the hook shot in the painted area using both hands (even if he should improve the use of his left) after the spin move … A solid free throw shooter, a good weapon since with his frame he’s able to draw contact quite effectively … He plays with energy and intensity below the boards, he’s not scared of contact …Good rebounder. Defensively he has a great potential with his remarkable lateral speed and quick hands … He has a remarkable feel for the game and basketball instincts, with several of the offensive possessions of his team usually passing through his hands.
Weaknesses: He’s not a huge leaper or very explosive, his physical game is based on his strength so he could struggle against bigger and longer opponents on both ends of the floor … Even if he has shown remarkable potential on the defensive end, one of his biggest flaws is his tendency to be foul prone, due to the lack of discipline (fundamentals, positioning) and attitude … This combined with his temper and the consequent arguments with referees limit his utilization on the court to an average of 15 minutes per game … There are some concerns regarding his maturity and his behavior on/off the court … His game is basically instinctive, based on his natural talent, but he should work on his game comprehension, reducing turnovers and forced shots …
Notes: Nurkic is likely to declare for the 2014 NBA draft, as his status as a possible late first rounder is gaining steam among scouts and insiders thanks to his solid performances throughout this season: he’s averaging 11.5 ppg and 5.4 rpg in only 16 minutes on the court in ABA liga, 9.1 ppg and 3.1 rpg in Eurocup. He grew up with Zlatorog Lasko (Slovenia) juniors then he moved to Croatia for the 2011-12 season signed by Cedevita Zagreb. He made his debut with Cedevita Zagreb during the 2012-13 season.
Davide Bortoluzzi 2/22/14