Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic turns heads in FIBA Basketball competition
Watched by Joe Cronin and Chauncey Billups, Jusuf Nurkic stars for Bosnia and Herzegovina at EuroBasket 2022. The Portland Trail Blazers center is one of the leaders of a team that holds a record 2- 2 and surprised the world by beating the powerhouse of Luka Doncic in Slovenia.
The Blazers leaders made their presence felt from the first game when Bosnia and Herzegovina took on Hungary in a hard-fought clash that ended in victory for Nurkic’s side. The center finished with 19 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 20:47 minutes.
Beyond the initial numbers, we could see him fulfilling a different role than he has in Portland, building and generating from the low post for his teammates, and running fast in transition like in his days with Damian Lillard.
Bosnia and Herzegovina play like the Portland Trail Blazers
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s style of play benefits them, as it is similar to that of Portland, which is, according to FIBA, the seventh-highest scoring team in EuroBasket (85.5).
Lots of possessions, fast attacks and a bit of slow play when they can’t run are things that greatly benefit Nurkic heading into the 2022-23 NBA season.
Attentive in defense and contributor in attack, he takes advantage of these matches to show all his qualities as a scorer. Only 16 players average more points than him in the tournament (16.5) and he carries them with 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 29.4 minutes.
Unfortunately, his weakness remains three-point shooting and he has only scored 5 of his 20 attempts in this area (25%). The important thing is that he continues to try to get into a rhythm and flow for the NBA season, where he should create space from the line with his shot.
Overall, Bosnia and Herzegovina couldn’t hold out on day two against the Germany of Franz Wagner, Dennis Schroder and company, and lost 92-82, until day three with a surprise victory against Slovenia from Doncic, who had just gone 11 games unbeaten in the tournament.
Thanks to this, Bosnia and Herzegovina came second in Group B, which is played in Cologne, Germany. But after that victory, the Bosnians lost by a narrow margin to France of Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier 68-81, fell to third place and can only qualify for the next round today if Hungary beat Lithuania.
To complete the group stage, they will have to face Jonas Valanciunas and Domantas Sabonis’ Lithuania tomorrow in the group of death to claim a place in the next round. If the Lithuanians win today, the winner of tomorrow’s game will advance to the next round and the loser will be eliminated.
What are the differences between FIBA and NBA?
Finally, taking stock of the tournament so far, Nurkic spoke about the refereeing differences between FIBA and NBA and explained what happened in the decisive minutes against Germany in an interview for Eurohoops. .
“I think FIBA is struggling with the rules. They have to catch up with the NBA. I had so many chances to foul. For example, when Wagner was going to dunk the ball, it was a block and it was called a foul. Well, let’s move on. And then when I turned against Theis in the post, he was pushing me, and it wasn’t a foul, it was a Wagner block. end of the day, we understand that they are playing at home, there is the local public and the referees are not going to let us rest.
Bosnia and Herzegovina still have plenty to fight for at EuroBasket 2022 and Jusuf Nurkic is competing well ahead of the 2022-23 NBA season and will be ready to train and compete with his teammates in Portland.