Jusuf Nurkic is a seven-foot Baltic riddle, a man capable of huge impact who often was not able to make that impact felt while wearing a Denver Nuggets uniform. The Bosnian Beast had some struggles with injuries and never could quite harness all of his talent, but the signs he showed here may still blossom into that terror he showed us glimpses of.
In January/February of 2015 - right before his knee injury and subsequent surgery to repair his patellar tendon - it seemed certain that he was destined to be the immovable menace in the middle of the lineup that Denver had been looking for. That promise just never materialized here, instead providing some great moments to go with vexing questions, and now he leaves the Mile High City to embark on the next leg of his NBA journey. On the day of his official departure here’s a rundown of some of those great Denver moments.
- That time he gave Jameer Nelson an assist in warmups to let his diminutive point guard feel 23 again.
- Any time Nurkic and DeMarcus Cousins were in the same building. That’s 30 feet of crazy in two seven-foot containers, and it tended to spill out.
The Cousins-Nurkic duel was just so enjoyable. Of course there had to be the obligatory "hey, you're blocking my path to the bench" scuffle. pic.twitter.com/2iYeZb3xsp— Reinis Lācis (@LamarMatic) January 4, 2017
Also enjoyed Nurkic blocking Cousins's dunk and instead of joining his team in transition, staying back to talk trash to Boogie. pic.twitter.com/Gn156MJ8Oq— Reinis Lācis (@LamarMatic) January 4, 2017
- Blocking the King and knocking the crown off Lebron James’s head ever so briefly. And yes, that’s some trash talk he throws LBJ’s way. This might be a theme. The Cavaliers then came back and decimated the Nuggets, but Nurkic lorded his moment over the champs ever so briefly.
- When he got under Marc Gasol’s skin, talking trash to the All-Star who normally treats opposing centers like window-dressing:
- But this is the most indelible memory of Nurkic for me. It shows his weird disdain for his opponents as well as his sense of humor and method of trucking to the basket like Andre Miller to the front of the buffet line.
Jusuf Nurkic, everybody. Here’s hoping he earns himself the career his talent deserves. Best of luck in Portland - unless he’s playing Denver, of course.