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#pounditTuesday, August 16, 2022

Articles tagged: Jusuf Nurkic

Jusuf Nurkic fires back at Ben Simmons over trash talk

Jusuf Nurkic

Things got a bit heated Sunday between Portland’s Jusuf Nurkic and Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons.

Simmons was overheard telling Nurkic “you talk a lot of s–t for being ass” after shooting a free throw during Saturday’s game. The quote went viral on Twitter during the game as well.

Naturally, Nurkic was asked about what Simmons had to say, and he had some trash talk of his own.

It’s worth noting that both Nurkic and Simmons led their teams in scoring on Saturday. Simmons poured in 29 points on 11-of-17 shooting, while Nurkic went 9-of-13 for 24 points as part of a double-double.

On the whole, there’s no easy winner here. Simmons has a better shooting percentage, but he’s still a non-factor from beyond the arc and has never made a three-pointer in the NBA. Then again, Nurkic is a .077 career three-point shooter, so it’s more or less a wash.

Simmons hasn’t been afraid to get some jawing in lately. While it worked in a win last time, the Sixers dropped Saturday’s game 130-115 to Nurkic’s Blazers.

Jusuf Nurkic ‏hilariously mocks Russell Westbrook on Twitter

Jusuf Nurkic

Russell Westbrook may have left with a win on Tuesday night, but he also got some hard feelings from his opponents.

After Oklahoma City’s 123-114 win over Portland, Westbrook was asked about fighting some screens from Jusuf Nurkic. He wasn’t too enthusiastic about answering the question and then seemed to mutter under his breath, “I ain’t talking about this clown.”

The video made its way to the Trail Blazers big man, who responded on Twitter. Nurkic called Westbrook “Westbrick.”

That’s harsh and funny, but may hit home. Though Westbrook is averaging a triple-double for the third straight season, he’s been atrocious shooting the ball. He’s shooting 41.6 percent from the field, including a terrible 24.2 percent on threes. He’s even been bad on free throws, shooting 65.5 percent at the line — by far the worst mark of his career. The name may stick.

Between Nurkic and what Damian Lillard posted on social media, this Blazers-Thunder rivalry may be heating up.

10 big-name NBA players who could change teams this summer

LeBron James

The NBA is on fire right now, and it’s been undefeated since a for-the-ages 2017 offseason. In addition to a flurry of open-market transactions, a number of stars changed teams via trade, fundamentally shifting the league’s power dynamics.

Indiana shipped Paul George to Oklahoma City. The Clippers sent Chris Paul to Houston. Chicago traded disgruntled Jimmy Butler to Minnesota.

Which stars could be on the move this offseason? Here is our perspective on 10 who could change uniforms.

10. Markelle Fultz

The 2017 No. 1 overall pick had an up-and-down rookie season. After struggling with a shoulder injury and re-learning how to shoot (for a good breakdown of that strange situation, read this piece from PhillyVoice), he played in 14 games and showed glimpses of brilliance. He averaged 7.1 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.1 rebounds in 18.1 minutes per game. The 20-year-old flashed the uncanny speed, change of pace, and athleticism that wowed draft scouts. His stock is low at the moment, but his upside is huge. He could be a central figure in Philly’s efforts to acquire Kawhi Leonard.

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Portland’s Nurkic throws major shade at DeMarcus Cousins

Jusuf Nurkic

Jusuf Nurkic was not in the best mood after a loss to New Orleans on Friday.

Speaking after the 119-113 defeat, the Portland Trail Blazers center had major shade for Pelicans counterpart DeMarcus Cousins, apparently peeved that Boogie kept talking trash to him. In his remarks, Nurkic took aim at Cousins’ toughness and his zero career playoff appearances, also saying that he should be “First Team Flopping.” Here is the video, per NBC Sports Northwest:

Cousins (24 points, 19 rebounds, eight assists) got the better of his matchup with Nurkic (19 points, five rebounds, two assists) on Friday. The loss was also probably particularly deflating for Portland coming to a team they are fighting for playoff seeding with. On the other hand, Nurkic does seem to like starting feuds with opposing bigs, and now we can add Cousins to his list of enemies.

Portland’s Nurkic throws shade at Joel Embiid

Jusuf Nurkic

Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic doesn’t seem to care too much for his Philadelphia 76ers counterpart.

After the Blazers beat the Sixers on Thursday by the final of 114-110, Nurkic threw some shade at Joel Embiid with a bit of a backhanded compliment.

“He tries to be more famous than a player,” said Nurkic of Embiid, according to Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk. “I respect him. He’s a good player. He’s not about tough.

“He’s a skill player, who is getting tired, it looks like,” Nurkic continued. “And when you play defense on him and play offense on him and attack him, he’s getting tired more.”

Nurkic (21 points, 12 rebounds, 5-of-13 from the field) and Embiid (29 points, 9 rebounds, 9-of-21 from the field) dueled each other to a draw on Thursday, but the W for the Blazers was what really mattered. As for Embiid himself, he knows that his celebrity is a double-edged sword, and it’s hardly shocking that opponents are taking advantage of it when they can.

Jusuf Nurkic speaks out on losing starting job to Nikola Jokic in Denver

Jusuf Nurkic

Less than two months after being traded by the Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic is opening up about the end of his Denver days.

In an interview with NBA.com’s David Aldridge that ran on Monday, Nurkic spoke on a variety of topics, including losing his starting job to Nikola Jokic.

“Like I say, I’m totally fine,” said Nurkic. “The coach have decision, and the organization, who they want to be their guy. But it would be more fair (if) they say that when I start the season. I was asking them, ‘What are we going to do?,’ and they say we’re gonna play both. But I kind of learn in America, especially in this league, it changes overnight. So I have no issue with that.

“I know my time is going to come, especially if you work hard every time, it’s going to pay off,” continued the 22-year-old big man. “I believe in that, and I just keep waiting for my chance, and when chance comes, I’m supposed to be ready. And I’m really happy I come in a right place. I think I’m a perfect fit here [in Portland], and how it show right now, how it looks.”

The Nuggets did indeed experiment with a Jokic-Nurkic pairing at the start of the season before quickly realizing that the slow-footed duo was unplayable together, particularly on the defensive end. Denver ultimately chose Jokic as their guy, leaving a clearly frustrated Nurkic fighting for scraps and all but demanding a trade. He got his wish at the deadline when he was sent to Portland along with a first-rounder for Mason Plumlee and a second-rounder.

It’s difficult to fault the Nuggets for their decision, as Jokic has gone on to average an eye-popping 17.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game post-All-Star break. But Nurkic may have gotten the last laugh, as his 15.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game since being traded have Portland playoff-bound (ironically, getting the eighth seed in the West over none other than Denver), something that he has been quite happy to remind his old team of.

Jusuf Nurkic takes funny parting shot at Nuggets

Jusuf Nurkic

Jusuf Nurkic had revenge on his mind during Tuesday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets. He also had it on his mind after it ended.

Nurkic was traded by the Denver Nuggets to the Portland Trail Blazers in February for Mason Plumlee, and he has really come into his own. The 7-footer has almost doubled the stats he was putting up per game in Denver since joining the Blazers. His strong play was on display when he scored a career-high 33 points in Portland’s 122-113 win over his former team.

After the game, Nurkic was interviewed and delivered this funny parting shot to Denver.

The Trail Blazers liked his comment so much they publicized it on social media.

Portland and Denver are battling for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The head-to-head win by the Blazers gave them a game advantage over the Nuggets in the standings. Wishing them a good summer seems to be his way of saying that Portland will be making the playoffs, while Denver will be going home.

Hey, when you walk the walk, you can also talk.

Jusuf Nurkic on trade rumblings: ‘If it happens, it’s going to be best for me’

Jusuf Nurkic would apparently welcome a move out of Denver.

ESPN’s Marc Stein reported on Saturday that the Nuggets are “openly shopping” the 22-year-old Bosnian big man ahead of the trade deadline.

Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post caught up with Nurkic after Denver’s 121-106 loss to Oklahoma City later in the day to ask him about the report.

“I have no comment about that,” Nurkic said. “All I can say is all I can control is what I can control. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to be best for me. So at the end of the day, I’m here to play basketball in the NBA. If not happen here, it will happen somewhere else.

“So it’s a business,” he continued. “As soon as I come into the league, the first day, they’re going to say it’s a business. If it’s going to happen, I’m ready. If not, then me and my agent are going to figure it out.”

Nurkic has tremendous upside as a low-post scorer and defensive presence but has fallen out of favor in the Denver rotation as fellow Baltic big Nikola Jokic has gobbled up all his playing time. He received just 15.8 minutes a night in the month of December and was a DNP-CD for four straight games.

We know that Nurkic, who also has to battle with Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler, and rookie Juan Hernangomez in the Nuggets frontcourt, has a reputation for saying what’s on his mind. So we’ll see if he can get back in Denver’s good graces or if these comments help hasten his departure.

Image Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Jusuf Nurkic throws shade at Kevin Durant for joining Warriors

jusuf-nurkic

Kevin Durant’s decision to team up with the Golden State Warriors is rubbing many the wrong way, fellow members of the NBA fraternity included.

In the aftermath of Durant’s shocking announcement on Monday that he was leaving Oklahoma City to take his talents to the Bay Area, Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic took to Twitter to imply that the former MVP wasn’t a true superstar for joining forces with the team that just beat him in the playoffs.

The 21-year-old Bosnian big man sums up many of our reactions to Durant’s blatant airstrike on the NBA’s competitive balance. He’s hardly the only NBA player who feels that way, and it has become immediately clear that Durant and the Warriors are now officially Public Enemy No. 1 in the basketball world for both fans and competitors alike.

Image Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports