Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Jusuf Nurkic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) shakes hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number sixteen overall pick to the Chicago Bulls in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Jusuf Nurkic, Welcome to Denver

I will start with an enthusiastic thumbs up for the Nuggets re-acquiring Aaron Afflalo.  A much safer acquisition than previous suggestions made by yours truly like Ben McLemore.

Watching the draft last night, I tweeted out excitement when I saw Gary Harris was still available at the 19.  After the Nuggets finally drafted Harris, I tweeted, “It’s a good day to be a Denver Nuggets fan!”

The Denver Nugget good day INCLUDES drafting Jusuf Nurkic.  I don’t truly understand all the negativity surrounding Nurkic.  It’s not like he is Dario Saric, with a two year overseas contract in hand. From Gazette.com,

The 19-year-old Nurkic is relatively new to basketball, not even picking up the game until he was around 15. He’s been a quick study, though, averaging around 11.2 points, six rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 2013-14 for Cedevita Zagreb in the Croatian League.

He said during a teleconference call that he fully intends to play in the NBA next season.

Here’s my reasoning for being excited about Jusuf Nurkic being drafted.  The Nuggets managed to offload Anthony Randolph.  With Randolph gone, Nurkic can slide into his roster spot.  Nurkic can pick up the garbage minutes at center while Coach Shaw works on what NBADraft.net lists as his weaknesses:

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.

The Nuggets need to begin grooming another center because after the 2014-15 season, both Mozgov and McGee enter their final contract year.  After a season of being shown the NBA ropes by Coach Shaw and his coaching staff, Nurkic will be able to increase his role and help the Nuggets decide who to keep, Mozzy or McGee.  For all the excitement about McGee’s potential, I cannot see the Nuggets signing him to another huge contract especially if Mozgov continues to develop.

Long story short, it made sense for the Denver Nuggets to draft a center.  Jusuf Nurkic was the second highest center on most mock drafts behind Joel Embiid.

"[Nurkic] is a guy that has a world of talent. He can shoot. He can really pass. He’s a bear." – Connelly pic.twitter.com/giOug9OuPF

— Denver Nuggets (@denvernuggets) June 27, 2014

Welcome to Denver, Jusuf Nurkic!

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