3. Welcome to the NBA, rooks
After two impressive, high-energy performances late in the first two preseason games, second-round pick Rodions Kurucs got his first extended minutes early in a game, entering off the bench in the first period. First-round pick Dzanan Musa also got some early burn.
The two teamed up on a nice transition opportunity for Musa in the second quarter, but there weren’t a lot of highlights.
Kurucs finished with four points, six rebounds, an assist, two steals and a blocked shot in 18 minutes. But he was just 1-for-5 from the floor and missed both of his 3-point attempts and, worse, turned the ball over six times.
Kurucs was called for three traveling violations, while two of Musa’s three turnovers were for happy feet while in possession of the ball.
Both rookies have a tendency to move both feet before starting their dribble-drive moves, which is a textbook traveling violation — even if NBA referees have a reputation for not making the call terribly often.
Musa finished with four points on 2-of-6 shooting. He missed a pair of 3-pointers and was 0-for-2 at the foul line. He also had one rebound and somehow managed to go minus-20 in just 14 minutes.
Musa, in particular, seemed to press as his struggles mounted, while at the same time showing some hesitation with his shot once he got into the lane. That’s been his bread-and-butter for the duration of his three pro seasons in Europe and it will be so in the NBA as well.
Strength and experience are his two biggest deficiencies.
They both play hard, which is good. They both learned Wednesday that they have a lot more to learn and that can be good, as well.