It’s been an up-and-down season for Rodions Kurucs and that includes playing for both Brooklyn ... and Long Island in the G League. After apparently solidifying a role with the Nets last season with 46 starts and an 8.5 scoring average, a number of things put all of that success in question. There were new players to compete with at the 4, his legal issues and he admits a need to rebuild his confidence.
So, while many may have seen his yo-yoing between the NBA and G League as a negative, the 21-year-old told Brian Lewis that it’s been a big help for him.
“They just want me to get my rhythm in and make good decisions,” Kurucs said of the Nets decision to send him east. “Why I didn’t play is because I didn’t shoot open shots, was getting turnovers out of that.
“That’s why they sent me [down], to get my rhythm back and get my feel for the game back. They want me to make the right decisions, make the right plays and make less turnovers.”
While on Long Island, Kurucs played an average of 30 minutes over eight games. The production wasn’t all that stellar —11.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 20.5 percent from deep— but it’s helped.
“Just confidence. Just been shooting it in the G-League, too. I shot like six 3s a game so it’s just making that automatic. Getting the ball and shooting it every time I get it,” said Kurucs, 4-of-10 from three in NBA action.
Now, of course, with David Nwaba out for the season, Kurucs will get his opportunity.
“Last year was the same thing: We had all the injuries, then I started playing. So the same thing happens this year, it’s just next man up. I’m just always ready to play and help the team. I feel it’s the same thing this year. We just got to step up for each other.”
On Saturday, he came off the bench early for the Nets, a role that had been filled by Nwaba. He scored six straight points going 3-of-3 and playing 11 minutes overall. It was the most he’s scored since Game 2, giving both him and his head coach confidence that he can recover from his early season doldrums.
“The period of time when I was on the court, basically next man up. Just got David’s minutes a little bit, trying to get some organization right now,” said Kurucs, 21. “Feels great now.”
“Rodi stepped up the other night,” Kenny Atkinson said. “It seems like when we have a guy down, someone steps up.”
And Kurucs isn’t the only G Leaguer who’s gotten bigger minutes as a result of the Nets wave of injuries. Two-way player Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot has played in seven games for Brooklyn, including two where he logged more than 20. The 24-year-old, who’s played 178 NBA games, will get the same opportunity at some point. With the Nets injury woes, you never know when you’ll get the next opportunity.
- Rodions Kurucs getting Nets second chance in David Nwaba fallout - Brian Lewis - New York Post