3. Kurucs injury a particularly bad break
Rodions Kurucs has been nothing short of a revelation early in his rookie campaign. A second-round pick from Latvia, via the Spanish ACB, Kurucs was thought to be not yet NBA-ready based on his lack of experience against elite competition.
In the span of just four preseason games and three regular season affairs, Kurucs had played his way into a regular role in the rotation and was on his way to another solid performance Saturday night against the Indiana Pacers.
Taken 40th overall by the Brooklyn Nets in June, the 20-year-old forward was once again very active in his 15 minutes on the floor. He finished with 12 points and six rebounds, two on the offensive glass, and knocked down a couple of threes.
He scored on a coast-to-coast drive, finishing with a scoop shot like that of a small guard, not a 6-foot-9 forward. He showed a nice first step and a terrific stop-and-pop jumper for a score.
But early in the fourth quarter, he rolled his left ankle over the foot of teammate Ed Davis and did not return. Diagnosed with a sprained left ankle, Kurucs will get the benefit of three off days to get treatment and rest.
He has emerged as the Nets’ energy guy off the bench. Kurucs comes into the game and things just happen — not all of them good because, hey, he’s a very inexperienced rookie and mistakes will be made as part of the learning curve.
But more than that, Kurucs seems to bring up the energy of the other guys on the floor along with him. Not necessary a team leader, but more of a source of inspiration because he just goes so damned hard all the time.
That’s something the Nets can’t do without for an extended period.