Multiple reports have stated that Rodions Kurucs has received a first-round guarantee from at least one team’s front office. Here’s why the Brooklyn Nets may be one of those teams.
Kurucs hails from Latvia and most recently played for FC Barcelona 2 in Spain. He is relatively young compared to most players in this year’s draft, only having turned 19 in February. He has been playing basketball professionally overseas since he was 16 when VEF Riga gave him an opportunity to showcase his talent.
Kurucs has represented his country proudly since taking up basketball full time. He’s played on several junior national teams for the past couple of years and even led Latvia to the final of the U16 FIBA European Championship. Since that run, his name has appeared consistently on mock draft boards. His stock peeked as high as the late lottery during some portions of the season.
Kurucs has made a name for himself based upon his valuable skillset. Standing at 6-8 with a 200-pound frame, Kurucs has ideal size for the small forward position. He also possesses high basketball IQ and athleticism; all characteristics that make up the foundation of a prototypical NBA wing.
Scouts haven’t had much of an opportunity to evaluate Kurucs during pre-draft proceedings. He did not participate in most events at the combine in early May, which is an option that is usually reserved for lottery level talent. Kurucs also has not seen top flight competition in his career as his team is in a subdivision.
It’s safe to say that Kurucs is should be considered this year’s “international man of mystery.” He has remained very quiet over in Spain for the past several months. Yet, he has several traits that the Nets value. This likely the main reason why Sean Marks and company took a scouting trip to see him play a few weeks ago. The upside is certainly there but, it’s difficult to project how NBA level competition will affect this puzzling prospect.