Rodions Kurucs: The Brooklyn Nets X-Factor

Brooklyn Nets Rodions Kurucs (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Rodions Kurucs (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

After finishing his rookie campaign in 2018-2019, Rodions Kurucs finished the season averaging 8.5 points and 3.9 rebounds. While his stat line is not indicative of his impact, is he set to make a significant impact for the Brooklyn Nets this season?

Rodions Kurucs is the Brooklyn Nets shiny new toy. Standing at six feet nine inches tall, he adds remarkable elevation and explosion when attacking the rim for the Nets. As previously mentioned, if someone were to take a glance at Rodions stat line, it’s safe to say that they would be relatively unimpressed, as without context his numbers aren’t anything to get too excited over. However, what he adds to the Brooklyn Nets roster is something that is almost unparalleled by anyone else on the team.

With a smooth but still inconsistent release on his jump shot, Rodions brings a perimeter shot to the table, shooting 31.5 percent from deep last season. As an emerging offensive weapon and off the ball defender, the Brooklyn Nets still have a relatively raw project on their hands. However, the project we’re talking about here is a high flying alley-oop catcher, so it’s safe to say it won’t be a challenge to develop him.

While he averaged less than one assist per game last season, that’s not the fairest of slights to pin on Rodions, as his court vision is still impressive at times, despite the at times inconsistencies. So although it’s not his goal to distribute the ball, it’s worth noting that he did play a stretch of eleven games without recording even one assist.

Where he fits in to this current Brooklyn Nets roster is the subject here. As long as Spencer Dinwiddie has a pulse, Rodions won’t be the sixth man. So, he’ll likely see significant minutes at power forward or small forward. This wouldn’t be too significant of a task for him, as he started 46 games out of the 63 that he played for the Brooklyn Nets last season.

What Rodions will need to focus on, is a continued development of his perimeter shot. If he can bump his average to around 36-39 percent, the Nets will be in much better shape. He has a remarkable ability to keep consistent active hands on defense, which lead to one of his most dominating games of the season defensively where he had three steals in the first half against the Detroit Pistons. Rodions had a total of eight games last season with at least two steals.

Cutting to the basket seems to be his calling, as 43.6 percent of his made field goal attempts came at the rim. Whether it was catching alley-oops, or making a play to find the soft spot in the defense, Rodions comes through for the Brooklyn Nets.

What all of this means, is that with the injury to Kevin Durant, Rodions will see a significant increase in minutes played. As someone who was able to provide a spark off the bench or in the starting lineup, he will be put to the test and see valuable time for the Brooklyn Nets this season.

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If his first season was indicative of anything, it’s that his development is way ahead of schedule.