Jusuf Nurkic
Jusuf Nurkic
25-Year-Old CenterC
Portland Trail Blazers
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Nurkic had a great campaign in his second full year with the Trail Blazers. The big man set career highs in points (15.6), rebounds (10.4), assists (3.2) and steals (1.0) per game, as well as field-goal (50.8) and free-throw (77.3) percentage. He had some big games, dropping at least 20 points on 22 occasions, recording at least 15 rebounds nine times, handing out five or more assists in 20 contests, and blocking 5-plus shots four times. But no performance was bigger than his five-by-five on Jan. 1 against the Kings. Nurkic put up a historic 24 points, 23 rebounds, seven assists, five steals and five blocks across 38 minutes. Things came to a close quickly, however, as Nurkic suffered a fractured leg in late March. He underwent surgery soon after, and it remains somewhat unclear when he will take the court again. Early estimates indicate a possible February return, but even if that's the case, Nurkic will probably be eased back into action slowly. As a result, the big man doesn't have much fantasy value this season outside of a last-round flier. Portland shored up its center depth as well, adding Hassan Whiteside to the fold. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a four-year, $48 million contract with the Trail Blazers in July of 2018.
Personal Bio

Jusuf Nurkic, the son of Hariz Nurkic, didn't start playing basketball until he was 14 when discovered by a sports agent who read an article about his father, a 7-foot policeman in their hometown of Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Before coming to the NBA, Nurkic played for Cedevita Zagreb of the Adriatic League. He also represented Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 2014 Under-20 European Championship Division B in Sarajevo, helping his country to a tournament championship and capturing MVP honors. In Portland, Nurkic has invested his time and energy towards various charitable causes, working with the Trail Blazers Foundation and other corporate partners to unveil the first of numerous refurbished basketball courts in public parks around the Greater Portland community. He also donated over 800 game tickets last year to the city's Bosnian community and Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO). For those efforts, Nurkic was awarded the 2018-19 Maurice Lucas Award, given by the Trailblazers organization to the player who "best represents the indomitable spirit of Maurice Lucas through his contributions on the court and in the community, as well as in support of his teammates and the organization". You can follow him on both Twitter and Instagram @Bosnianbeast27.

College/International Summary

A native of Bosnia, Nurkic spent time in the Adriatic League prior to arriving in the NBA. In 2012-13, he averaged 3.6 points and 2.0 rebounds for Cedevita before being loaned to Zadar, where he posted 8.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game. The following year, Nurkic appeared in 58 games for Cedevita, putting up 10.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. He also played for Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 2014 U-20 European Championship Division B. Across eight games, Nurkic averaged 21.4 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.6 blocks en route to leading his team to the championship and being named tournament MVP.

Cleared to play
CPortland Trail Blazers
July 1, 2020
Nurkic (leg) has officially been cleared to participate when the NBA season resumes in Orlando, Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report reports.
ANALYSIS
As expected, the layoff played to the favor of Nurkic, who hasn't played this season while recovering from a fractured leg. On a conference call Wednesday, coach Terry Stotts confirmed that both Nurkic and Zach Collins (shoulder) "look great," and he noted that Nurkic likely would have been cleared to return sometime in March or April. On the same call, Blazers guard Damian Lillard went as far as to say that he "absolutely" expects Nurkic and Collins to be in the starting lineup when play resumes.
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Past Season Summaries
2018

In his fifth NBA season, Nurkic enjoyed the best statistical year of his career. He started all 72 games in which he appeared -- topping 70 games for the second time in his career. Nurkic averaged career highs in nearly every major category, including points (15.6), rebounds (10.4), and assists (3.2) per game. The Bosnian big man knocked down a career-high 50.8 percent of his field goals and 77.3 percent of his free throws, and he played a career-high 27.4 minutes per game. In a Jan. 1 victory over the Kings, Nurkic turned in one of the most impressive stat lines of the season, scoring 24 points and pulling down 23 rebounds to go with seven assists, five steals, and five blocks. On Jan. 16, Nurkic recorded his first career triple-double, putting up 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Nurkic recorded 36 double-doubles on the season, including two streaks of five straight double-doubles in October and March, respectively. Nurkic's season came to an early end on Mar. 25, when he suffered a fractured leg during a win over the Nets. In that game, Nurkic had 32 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, four blocks and two steals in 34 minutes. He remained sidelined throughout Portland's run to the Western Conference Finals.

2017

Playing his first full season in Portland, Nurkic took his game to an entirely new level. The former Nugget started every one of his career-high 79 games. His 26.4 minutes per game were five minutes more than he averaged a season earlier and a new-career-best mark. Nurkic was involved more offensively with the Blazers than he ever was during his two-plus years in Denver. His 12.0 field goal attempts shattered his previous career-high (8.2 per game). The result was Nurkic averaging a career-high 14.3 points to go along with a career-best 9.0 rebounds. He posted 27 double-doubles, including a monstrous 14-point, 20-rebound (seven offensive) effort in a win over the Clippers on Jan. 30. Nurkic shot better than 50.0 percent (50.5) from the field for a second straight season in addition to posting better than one block (1.4) per game for a fourth consecutive year. Nurkic's per-36-minute numbers -- 19.5 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.9 blocks -- were also strong.

2016

Nurkic began his third season in the NBA with the Nuggets, starting 29 of 45 games he appeared in. The emerging big man averaged 8.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per contest while in Denver. He collected four double-doubles while a member of the Nuggets, including a 13-point, 18-rebound, five-block performance at Toronto on Halloween. At the trade deadline, Nurkic was swapped for Mason Plumlee in a 1-for-1 trade between the Trail Blazers and Nuggets. Nurkic shined in 20 games (19 starts) during the remainder of the regular season. Playing nearly 30 minutes per contest, Nurkic averaged a double-double with 15.2 points and 10.4 rebounds. He tallied double-doubles in nine of the first 20 games of his Trail Blazers career. He grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds against Philadelphia on Mar. 9. Nurkic scored a career-best 33 points against his former Denver squad Mar. 28. A broken leg sidelined him following Mar. 30, and he appeared in one playoff game for Portland, Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Nurkic notched two points, 11 rebounds, four assists and one block during that contest.

2015

Nurkic played in 32 games in his second NBA season with the Nuggets. After battling a back strain, he made is season-debut on Jan. 2 with a brief appearance during a close loss at Golden State. Four nights later, during a win at Minnesota, the Bosnian big man double-doubled with 15 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks over 22 minutes of run. The 21-year-old was able to play 17.1 minutes per game and averaged 8.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per contest. His best game of the year came Apr. 8, when he posted a double-double with a season-high 21 points to go along with 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. It was one of four double-doubles for the center. Nurkic managed double-digit scoring in 10 other games, including a 19-point effort on Mar. 27. He grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds against Portland on Apr. 13 and had three other games with 10 or more rebounds. Nurkic also had a season-high five swats in a win over Minnesota on Jan. 6. He had 11 other games with at least two blocks.

2014

As a rookie in Denver, Jusuf Nurkic appeared in 62 games, making 27 starts and averaging 6.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks over 17.8 minutes per contest. The big center made his NBA debut on Oct. 29 and produced five points and seven rebounds in 13 minutes off the bench. He registered his first career double-double against the Bulls on Jan. 1, going for 10 points and 10 rebounds, with three blocks, in 21 minutes. Nurkic followed up that performance with another double-double on Jan. 3 against the Grizzlies. In a matchup against Golden State on Apr. 15, Nurkic scored a season-high 17 points, to go with nine rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block. For the season, Nurkic scored in double-figures 18 times, and he had seven double-digit-rebound games. Denver finished the year at 30-52 and missed the post-season.

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Transaction History
  • June 26, 2014
    Drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the 1st round (16th pick) of the 2014 NBA Draft.
  • July 31, 2014
    Signed a multi-year rookie contract with the Denver Nuggets
  • February 13, 2017
    Traded by the Denver Nuggets with a 2017 1st round draft pick to the Portland Trail Blazers for Mason Plumlee, cash, and a 2018 2nd round draft pick.
  • July 6, 2018
    Signed a four-year contract with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Jusuf Nurkic
Fantasy Stock Watch: Whiteside's Value Set To Fall?
2 days ago
With Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic poised to return in Orlando, Hassan Whiteside could shift to the bench.
NBA Return: Power Ranking All 22 Teams
3 days ago
The Milwaukee Bucks earn the top spot in Nick Whalen's power rankings heading into the Orlando restart.
NBA Return: The Eight Games We're Most Excited to Watch
7 days ago
Ben Simmons and the Sixers will be back at full strength when play resumes in Orlando.
NBA Return: Eight of the Best Bets on the Board
14 days ago
Nick Whalen and Alex Barutha each like the Clippers' chances to make it through the Western Conference.
NBA Return: 22 Questions for 22 Teams, Part 3
15 days ago
What should the Pelicans expect from Zion Williamson after a lengthy layoff?
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
Fresh off signing a four-year, $48 million contract in early July, Nurkic enters the 2018-19 season with designs on a career-best campaign. The 2014 first-round pick enjoyed a solid 2017-18 campaign and encouragingly suited up for a career-high 79 games, but his numbers actually took a hit as compared to the 20 first games of his Portland tenure the year prior following a trade from the Nuggets. Nurkic still generated 14.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 blocks last season over 79 games, putting up a career-high 12.0 shot attempts and logging the second-highest usage rate of his career (26.2). The big man’s work on the defensive glass was at elite levels as well, putting up the highest defensive rebounding percentage of his career (26.5) on his way to 27 double-doubles. Given his well-rounded talents, Nurkic slots in at a level just below elite at the center position for Fantasy purposes if he can steer clear of the injury bug.
The 16th overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft, Nurkic spent his first two seasons in Denver, but ultimately fell out of the rotation during the 2016-17 campaign with the emergence of superstar Nikola Jokic. That prompted the Nuggets to look for a willing trade partner, which the Trail Blazers jumped at and ended up sending Mason Plumlee and a second-round pick to Denver, while getting back Nurkic and a first-round pick. It ended up being an absolute steal for the Trail Blazers, as Nurkic fit in seamlessly as the third option to Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. In 20 games following the trade, Nurkic ended up averaging 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.3 steals across 29.2 minutes, evidencing an all-around game that he'd never shown before. It was a huge bump in playing time from what the 22-year-old center was used to, but he showed no signs of discomfort in taking on a bigger role and nearly doubled his numbers in every category from what he'd averaged in 45 games with the Nuggets earlier in the year. With a full training camp to gel further with his Portland teammates, Fantasy owners should have high expectations for Nurkic in 2017-18. Nurkic should easily vault into the top-10 for centers in season-long Fantasy leagues and his potential to average a double-double will be enticing. The only real negative for Nurkic is the fact that he shoots just 57.1 percent from the free-throw line, which certainly hurts his value in rotisserie style formats. Still, one of the fastest risers in the NBA last season, Nurkic could be in store for his best full season as a professional and he's going into a contract year, which should add even more fuel to the fire. A lower-leg fracture that kept him out of the majority of the playoffs is something to monitor, but he's already expected back for training camp, so it shouldn't linger into the regular season. Nurkic's all-around production should translate to an elite Fantasy center.
As a rookie, Nurkic impressed with his rebounding and rim-protecting abilities, finishing the year with per-36 averages of 13.9 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 62 games. Injuries put a major damper on his sophomore campaign, however, as a lower-back strain caused Nurkic to miss the first two months of the season and 50 games in all. Nurkic made his debut on Jan. 2, but went on to battle wrist and hip injuries that would ultimately prevent him from ever establishing a rhythm. While his per-36 numbers were again strong, Nurkic converted just 41.7 of his field goals on a high volume (7.6 per game) relative to his workload (17.1 minutes per game). All indications are that Nurkic is back to full strength entering 2016-17 and is projected to serve as the undisputed No. 2 center behind Nikola Jokic after the team shipped Joffrey Lauvergne to Oklahoma City in the offseason, helping to clear room in what had become a crowded Denver frontcourt. While playing behind Jokic will limit Nurkic’s fantasy ceiling, his per-minute counting stat production has been outstanding when he's healthy, and coach Mike Malone showed a willingness to play the two big men alongside each other late last season. As a result, Nurkic is worth a look later in drafts with the hope that he plays his way into an expanded role.
Nurkic is one of the most exciting prospects for Nuggets fans as he showed a fearlessness last season that very few rookies possess. Through 62 games, he averaged 6.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, and 0.8 steals in 18 minutes per game while shooting 46 percent from the field and 64 percent from the free-throw line. Nurkic often found himself in foul trouble, likely a symptom of his overt confidence and willingness to put his body into his work. In fact, he finished top-five in the league in fouls per minute and struggled to stay in games with his overly aggressive nature. If he can hone in his aggressiveness and focus on beating teams with his elite skills, Nurkic could become a big threat for the Nuggets. What people really love is his ability to play defense, as he provides blocks and steals at an elite rate for a big man. New Nuggets coach Mike Malone got DeMarcus Cousins to play hard on both ends of the floor while taking on an ever-increasing role as a leader, and maybe Malone can do that for this youngster who has a similar skill set with a lower ceiling.
Jusuf Nurkic was drafted by the Bulls with the 16th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and then traded to Denver, along with the 19th pick (Gary Harris), for Doug McDermott. Nurkic is a space eater at 7-0, 280. He can score around the basket and should be a good defender in the low post. He's just 19 years old and should have time to learn behind Timofey Mozgov, JaVale McGee, and J.J. Hickson at center. Nurkic will most likely be tied to the bench in his rookie season unless the Nuggets shake up their roster a lot this season.
More Fantasy News
Expected to play in Orlando
CPortland Trail Blazers
Lower Leg
June 5, 2020
Nurkic (lower leg) is healthy and expected to play when the 2019-20 season resumes in Orlando, Jason Quick of The Athletic reports.
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To practice in G League
CPortland Trail Blazers
Lower Leg
March 9, 2020
Nurkic (leg) will practice in the G League this week before his expected return Sunday against Houston, Jamie Hudson of NBC Sports Northwest reports.
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Season debut set for March 15
CPortland Trail Blazers
Lower Leg
March 6, 2020
Nurkic (lower leg) will make his season debut March 15 against the Rockets, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports. "I'm ready to help my team make the playoffs," Nurkic said. "It's time."
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Remains sidelined
CPortland Trail Blazers
Lower Leg
February 28, 2020
Nurkic (lower leg/calf) is listed as out for Saturday's game against the Hawks.
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No timeline for return
CPortland Trail Blazers
Lower Leg
February 10, 2020
Nurkic (leg/calf) remains without a firm return timetable, Jamie Hudson of NBC Sports Northwest reports. "There's no timeline on Nurk when he's gonna come back," coach Terry Stotts said prior to Sunday's game against the Heat. "He had a little setback. He had a mild strain in his right calf. So, the last week or 10 days, he really hasn't been able to do much, so that's kind of set back any kind of comeback."
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