NBA Draft

Chicago Bulls Select Jusef Nurkic at No. 16

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The Denver Nuggets made one of the savvier trades of the night on Thursday, sending away their #11 pick for Chicago’s #16 and #19 selections, both of which were used to draft respectable players from the draft pool.

The first of those was Jusef Nurkic, a 6’11”, 280-pound center who played last season for Cedevita of the Adriatic League. He’s only 19 years old, but despite that he averaged an impressive 11.7 PPG and 5.7 RPG last season—numbers that don’t sound like much until one considers how much he accomplished at such young an age. Even Nikola Pekovic, another former Adriatic League player, didn’t have this kind of success this quickly, so Nurkic is a fine center prospect headed to a team that did need to add some size in its frontcourt.

What Nurkic brings to the table is offense. He’s a monster of a human being that has been able to do pretty much anything he wants to down on the block, and that’s what makes him the second-best center prospect in the draft this year. Granted, it’s a slow year for centers, but Nurkic is a legitimately interesting prospect with a chance to be a decent ball player on the NBA level.

On the downside, Nurkic is foul prone and obviously not very athletic, and there have been questions about his maturity. Overall, though, he makes sense in the middle of the first round, and considering many drafts had Gary Harris pegged to Denver at #11, getting him at #19 and adding Nurkic for their trouble is a big steal for them.