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WHAT WE EXPECT: Rodions Kurucs, a project with potential

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Everything you need to know about Rodions Kurucs.

Brooklyn Nets

Let’s start with Charles Maniego’s Draft Card for Rodions Kurucs and add his nickname: Rodi.

The Nets had been high on Rodions Kurucs for some time. We can go as far back as March 2017 when Sean Marks went to in Barcelona, Spain to scout the young Latvian, who is now only 20-years-old, and won’t be 21 until February.

The soon-to-be FC Barcelona import is a legitimate 6’10”, 220-pound combo forward, whom the Nets will presumably use, in either Brooklyn or Long Island, to stretch the floor and guard multiple positions.

Marks says the plan for Kurucs is to bring him over right way, just as it is with Nets’ 2018 first-round pick, Dzanan Musa. Both may play in Las Vegas.

Kurucs likens his game to Kevin Durant, as he told reporters during his formal introduction on Monday.

“I like Kevin Durant. Gordon Hayward,” said Kurucs, who had a first round projection last year before electing to stay overseas. “I look more like Durant because I’m also skinny – I’m actually like him more or less; have his skills. I think I get compared to him more.”

Here’s a look at his workout video and interview with DraftExpress from last year.

Much as the ESPN crew compared Donte DiVincenzo with Tyler Johnson, Kevin Huerter with Mike Miller and Grayson Allen with Bob Sura, NBADraft.net compared Kurucs to Sam Dekker.

Here’s what that draft-dedicated site had to say regarding the newest Net.

Strengths: Great size and length for a wing ... Versatile player, who has been used by his coaches in both forward positions and even as a shooting guard ... Very good athlete ... Possesses an above average first step that helps him blow by opponents ... Has a thin frame, but he has wide shoulders that suggest that he can add considerable weight with no problem in the future ... Great leaping ability ... Can jump equally well with either foot ... Has the ability to play above the rim thanks to his athleticism and length ... Has long strides and covers a lot of ground while moving on both ends of the floor ... Plays with a lot of passion and energy and isn’t afraid of the big stage ... Can score from inside and outside ... Has a short memory on offense and even if he has missed a few shots in a row he will continue shooting, which is a good sign for his level of confidence ... Good basketball I.Q... Has a nice feel for the game ... He is not really vocal, but he is a good teammate ... He is a scorer... Has nice touch around the basket ... His shooting mechanics are excellent ... Good shooter, with NBA range ... Very good in Catch and Shoot situations and also shooting coming out of screens... Best as spot up shooter... Has a solid in-between-game on offense ... Attacks closeouts and goes hard to the basket ... He is not afraid of contact while driving... Can shoot of the dribble and is able to create distance while dribbling for a step back shot ... Has the ability to start the fast break and even make some coast to coasts... His ball handling is improving ... Creates problems with his size when he tries to post up smaller defenders, forcing the defense to adjust on him... Fills the lanes beautifully while running on the fastbreak ... Knows how to make the extra pass in the half-court, finding the open man ... Has shown potential as a passer when concentrated, since he can see different angles ... Has active hands on defense and can make a lot of steals because of it ... His length helps him contest shooters even when he is out of balance or a step behind ... He is not afraid to bang bodies on defense and tries to hold his ground against stronger players... Has all the necessary tools to become a solid defender in the future and a solid two way player ...

Weaknesses: He already had two major injuries and he is really close to be labeled as injury prone ... Hasn’t really be tested against elite competition ... He really needs to add some muscle, since he barely weights 200 lbs ... He might not afraid of contact, but he can’t really absorb it at the moment ... His ball handling is improving, but stills needs work, especially on his left hand ... His average ball handling limits him on ISO situations against good defenders ... He goes almost exclusively right when driving to the basket and is easy to read ... Drives to the basket only on straight lines ... He falls in love with his shot at times and doesn’t try to mix it up ... Has the tendency to force things on offense and take some shoots really early on the clock ... He tries to post up smaller defenders but he doesn’t have the strength or the footwork to be a threat, since almost all the time turns on his left shoulder ... There are times he plays too fast and out of control ... Streaky shooter for now ... Occasionally suffers from tunnel vision while driving to the basket and doesn’t make the correct play ... He can’t really create for his teammates because he is an average passer for now, having problems passing on the move or while being double-teamed ... Hasn’t really been used in Pick and Roll situations as the ball handler, but when he was the results were mixed, since he prefers to look for his shoot in these situations ... Moving without the ball is an issue at times, since he has the tendency to go where the ball is, putting pressure on his team and creating spacing problems ... He is just an average rebounder ... He depends too much on his physical tools on defense and should work on technique and fundamentals ... His lateral quickness is average and he doesn’t always have a good low stance ... Has problems against explosive wings, because he can get out of balance while trying to defend them ... He gets caught behind screens away from the ball and loses his opponent ... At times he is standing in no man’s land on defense, looking lost ... His help defense is mediocre, since he either over helps or doesn’t help at all... Stronger players can bully him in the post ...

Overall: Rodions Kurucs is a really skilled player, who can bring a lot in the table, especially on the offensive end of the floor ... His scoring ability and physical attributes are undeniable ... If he remains healthy, works on his body and fixes some of his weaknesses (ball handling, court vision, defensive concentration) he can become a really good player in the future …

Notes: He started his career in VEF Riga and played for the first team at the age of 16 ... He signed a multiyear contract with FC Barcelona in 2015 and was a member of the team that won the first place in ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT in 2016 ... Has been a member of the Latvian junior national teams ... In 2014 he led Latvia all the way to the Final of the U16 FIBA European Championship, earning All-Tournament honors ...

Best quote at Friday’s press conference ... on Kristaps Porzingis

“I don’t know him that much. We spoke some time.

“I didn’t play with him. I met him once before he got drafted. After that, we didn’t meet. I hope to play with him some day on the national team.”

“And play against him?”

“Sure, and beat his ass.”