The Brooklyn Nets made it official Monday, signing second-round pick Rodions Kurucs to a reported four-year, $7 million contract.
Kurucs, 20, was the 40th overall pick in the second round in last month’s draft following four professional seasons in Europe, including the last three with FC Barcelona in Spain.
The Nets announced the signing today:
Brian Lewis of the New York Post reported via Twitter that the deal is expected to be for four years and $1.7 million, high for a second-round pick.
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But Nets general manager Sean Marks was high on the Latvian prospect during the ramp-up to the 2017 NBA Draft, before Kurucs withdrew.
Kurucs was in Las Vegas with the Nets’ Summer League entry, but did not play. Brooklyn wasn’t able to secure his buyout from FC Barcelona until Thursday and Kurucs did not dress for the Nets’ game with the Indiana Pacers on Friday that closed out their play in Vegas.
Kurucs played primarily with Barcelona’s second-division team last season, averaging 10.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 20.8 minutes per game in 16 appearances while shooting .445/.333/.769.
Kurucs is a combo-forward prospect, who at 6-foot-9 and 220 pounds needs to improve his strength and defense. It is likely he will spend significant time this season with the G-League’s Long Island Nets while he adapts to the U.S. style of play.
Kurucs had a pro day workout for scouts and executive in Los Angeles less than a week before the draft.
And here are some highlights of his time with FC Barcelona. Lots of strong drives to the basket, but without adding some strength, he may have trouble finishing those against NBA-level defenders.
According to NBA Scouting Live, Kurucs is a solid athlete who has terrific size on the wing and can get steals and blocks on the defensive end.
However, his positional defense needs to improve — he has a tendency to reach and lunge and try to get by on athleticism on defense as opposed to moving his feet to stay with his assignment.
Kurucs did miss time in 2016-17 with a knee injury and has seen limited time against top-level competition, as FC Barcelona opted last season to bury a couple of their players who had NBA aspirations, including Kurucs and Nets’ draft-and-stash pick Aleksandar Vezenkov.
So what the Nets have at this point is an intriguing prospect who could be a combo forward with outside shooting skills and driving ability, with great size for the role, but a player who needs a lot of development time before he can be counted on to take on a regular rotational role.