Jurkic. Definition: Two tall players from eastern Europe who may, or may not work together in tandem on the basketball court .... depending on the match ups and whatnot.
Sometimes you just have to try it
As we watch the San Antonio Spurs somehow plod and plow their way through the severely depleted Memphis Grizzlies. Also, as we watch the Toronto Raptors find offensive game with the Jack Sikma-taught post moves of Jonas Valenciunas it makes me wonder if the Nuggets should commit, next season, to sticking with Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic in the same lineup ... aka (coined by CSG) Jurkic.
This is normally where someone would produce 10 graphs and pie charts to reveal the secret of Jurkic. To be honest I'm going on nothing but a hunch and a notion that to play the way head coach Michael Malone WANTS to play in Denver ... maybe, just maybe a twin towers lineup could be his best course of action.
I'm in now way saying that the Nuggets should stick to this notion beyond all reason in some sort of mind numbing attempt to bring back the Tim Duncan/David Robinson Spurs of 1997-2003. This is more about sticking WITH something. Not giving it the old "oh we tried" then move on to something else. This is about acknowledging that you have invested draft picks in two players who can be promising (with Jokic tipping more heavily on the promising scale) and the Nuggets should find the best way for the two to work together in tandem for longer than 5 games.
What I mean by committing to the Jurkic lineup is simply devoting 20 minutes per game, in whatever combination of a much longer sample size than what we just saw which would mean at least 20 games next season. I don't even think this means you have to start them, nor does it entail some sort of mandate to trade Kenneth Faried either. whom you could start at power forward still if you choose to bring Nurkic of the bench. Provided Nurkic is going to buy in to that scenario AND the Nuggets don't mind bringing their best defensive center off the bench.
There are many different scenarios you can explore the Jurkic lineup. With Michael Malone's comments about "pace" at the end of the year (last home game) maybe it's time to explore the possibilities of a twin towers lineup if that fits more in line with what Malone envisions both defensively and offensively. At the very least you set the template for what CAN be rather than speculating. Next year is very important and you would hope that some clarity would come. I, additionally, wouldn't expect Nurkic to be included in any trade (unless he is the difference in netting a star).
So you might as well give it the big sample size for the rest of the year.
Here are some Jokic and Nurkic highlights to whet your appetite for potential.
This was the most successful night of the Jurkic lineup. It was against a heavily resting Spurs team, but it showed how well Nurkic and Jokic can work together once they "figure it out".
On that same night Nikola Jokic racked up 8 points 4 assists and 15 rebounds. What was interesting to see, as you can tell from these highlights ... Big Honey's (aka Velcro) ability to pass can be KEY to any combination lineup with Nurkic. Plus, Jokic's ability to lead the break can be key. The problem for Jokic right now is he seems to struggle to guard stretch 4's (which is natural considering he is really a center) and needs to gain strength.
I think ... I think it deserves a significant look. Obviously this depends on the Nuggets making moves in the offseason, but I do feel that if the Nuggets intend to keep both Nurkic and Jokic (and all indications at this moment point that they do) then you need to find out how they can be in tandem. Do the Nuggets have the zeal to do commit to this? It remains to be seen. However it might be worth a shot considering Jokic's high IQ and Nurkic's (very) raw ability. Maybe the Nuggets way forward will be doing something that they have never tried in their history. Embrace the big man.
From my perspective this is a question that needs to be answered definitively next season for the Nuggets to advance with a firm identity.