Jusuf Nurkic has been a revelation for the Portland Trail Blazers. Since being traded by the Denver Nuggets, the Bosnian big man has averaged 14 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.
Nurkic’s addition to the roster has been significant in propping up what has been a disappointing year for the Blazers. They re-entered the playoff race and with Nurkic leading the way inside, they seem poised to grab the eighth seed.
On Tuesday, the Blazers played host to Nurkic’s former team in a huge matchup with playoff implications. Tied in the standings and the head-to-head matchup at 2-1 for Portland, the game was hugely important for both squads.
It was the Blazers and, in particular, Nurkic who showed up in a big way. The center scored 33 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as Portland hung on for a 122-113 win.
After the game, Nurkic had some words for his former squad:
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) March 29, 2017
Nurkic is very open about having fun in Portland, something that he did not have the luxury of in Denver. It’s been widely covered, but Nurk did not enjoy his time with the Nuggets as his role kept changing and he was sent to the bench due to Nikola Jokic’s stellar play.
Now in Portland, Nurkic has a defined role and is playing it well. And he’s making sure everyone is aware that the Blazers are coming and the Nuggets will likely be short of the playoffs once again.