The Emergence of Jusuf Nurkic in Denver


If you’ve watched the Denver Nuggets at all in the past couple weeks, you’ve noticed something different. That something would be Jusuf Nurkic.  The 6’11” 280-lb rookie has been on a mini-tear as of late and it’s warranting all sorts of excitement among the Denver Nuggets faithful.

S.E. Shepherd published a great piece on just how special Nurkic is becoming, and it’s a point worth hammering home.  Per, Nurkic ranks 9th in scoring, 5th in rebounding, 3rd in blocks, and 3rd in field goal percentage, while ranking just 24th in minutes per game when compared to his fellow rookies who have played in at least 15 games this season .  The big man has been incredibly efficient.  Nurkic has been so efficient that he leads all rookies in the plus/minus statistic.

With NBA All-Star Weekend barely a month away, it seems realistic that we may see the big man invited to participate in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, which highlights the top young talent in the league.

The emergence of Jusuf Nurkic is a big deal for a Nuggets organization who, at one point, appeared to be losing with a “win-now” roster.  The Nuggets suddenly have young talent, which both helps them in the short-term and gives them promise in the long-term.  That long-term promise is something that was not obviously present amongst the Nuggets roster at the beginning of the season.