Nets go for shooting, size in 2018 NBA Draft with Musa and Kurucs


The 2018 NBA Draft is in the books. A day after the Dwight Howard drama (and eventual fizzling out), the Brooklyn Nets made their first acquisitions of the summer. No, the Nets did not move up, nor did they absorb another salary dump after the Howard deal — Brooklyn stayed at picks 29 and 40 and went overseas with their choices. Let’s take a look.

Pick 29: Dzanan Musa, Bosnia & Herezgovina, KK Cedevita


The 19-year old was called the second best European player behind the much-hyped (and very successful) Luka Doncic. Musa was one of the purest scorers in the entire draft. He doesn’t score with smoothness, he scores with fire. Just by looking at his highlights, his competitiveness and straight-up hunger to score are evident. He is the type to drain cold-blooded jumpers and also take it right at a big man in the paint. Musa’s ability to score – and create for himself — will help the Nets when the offense becomes too stagnant.

With the Nets, Musa can contribute scoring right away. He brings size to the wing for a Nets team that played undersized for many stretches. In Kenny Atkinson’s system, he will have the confidence to expand his game, and the green light to shoot whenever he sees an opportunity. Already with a wealth of basketball experience for a 19-year-old, Musa may be more ready for the NBA spotlight than some think. While he may need to refine his defense and get a lot stronger, Musa can easily be a role player right away for Brooklyn.

Musa does love basketball as well.

Pick 40: Rodions Kurucs, Latvia, FC Barcelona Lassa

In a similar vein to Musa, Kurucs is another fluid wing scorer. Kurucs, hypothetically, could be a slashing wing. At 6 feet, 10 inches, Kurucs has great size for a wing player. If he bulks up more, he will be a solid candidate for a small-ball four. While his numbers were far from impressive with Barcelona, Kurucs’ skill set stood out. He is comfortable handling the ball at his size and is not afraid to put the ball on the floor. He could push the pace as a tertiary ballhandler with the Nets with his slashing and creating skills.

He could be a solid spot up shooter as well and is not afraid to take big shots. The Ringer compared Kurucs to Nicolas Batum, Jonas Jerebko, and Chandler Parsons. If Kurucs pans out, he would be a great value for a mid-second round pick.

Unlike the above draft card, Kurucs will be headed to Brooklyn right away. He has signed a four-year deal with the Nets, per David Pick.

This is a positive for Kurucs’ development as he was literally being held back by Barcelona – a team under much turmoil right now. Part of the reason Kurucs fell to the second round as a prospect because of his lack of exposure in Barcelona. With Brooklyn, Kurucs may not see a lot of time on the NBA floor, but he could develop in the G-League to get stronger and adjust to a higher level of competition.

Fit With the Nets

Musa projects as a deadly scorer with range to beyond the three-point line. For a 29th pick, he has high upside considering his age, experience and skills. He could easily slide into a backup wing role, potentially being a catch-and-shoot guy off of Caris LeVert or Spencer Dinwiddie drives. Kenny Atkinson could have him run pick-and-roll as well. While Kurucs projects as a longer-term prospect, he could slot in as a slasher and creator. If he bulks enough, he could be a rangy small-ball four.

Sean Marks chose those Musa and Kurucs because of their pedigrees – both coming from high-level teams in Europe, and competing at a young age with National Teams. He also added that their confidence and drive were intangibles that showed their willingness to be great.

Musa models his game after Kobe Bryant and Manu Ginobili, two fiery players that exude charisma on the court. Kurucs models his game after Kevin Durant and Gordon Hayward, two slender, but successful scorers in the NBA with multiple skills.

These two share many of the same deficiencies. They’ll both need to gain muscle to compete against NBA level players, and will need to key in on off-ball defense as well. Both players may need to slide down a position in order to not be roasted on the defensive end – despite the promise of their offense. Still, the Nets have time to develop these players.

While the Nets did not make the splashiest of picks this draft, they chose on two young players with tremendous opportunity for growth in Brooklyn. With Summer League next, it will be interesting to see how the newest Nets will fit in with their new teammates.