Leading up to the NBA Draft we will be analyzing scouting reports for various players who have entered their name in this year’s NBA Draft. The focus of these articles will be on prospects who we find most intriguing and feel readers need to become more familiar with. Please let us know if you want any players specifically @edupridepress. All stats and videos are via KenPom, ESPN, DraftExpress, and YouTube.
Rodions Kurucs – SF – International – Latvia
Weight: 190 lbs
Age: 19 years and 3 months
Projected: 21 (DraftExpress) 22 (CPP Big Board) 21 (CPP Mock Draft)
Background: Yet another international player in this year’s draft, Rodions Kurucs has all the tools to be an intriguing NBA prospect. Standing 6’9” and being able to play multiple positions on the floor, Kurucs draft stock has been gradually increasing as we get closer to June. This past year, Kurucs played for Barcelona 2 in the LEB Gold League in Spain. In 24 games this season, Rodions Kurucs averaged 21.2 minutes, 9.5 PPG, 1.4 APG, 31.9% from 3-pt range, and shot 79.6% from the free throw line. Again, like many international prospects, Rodions Kurucs’ numbers do not have the wow factor to them, but his consistency on the offensive end of the ball and shooting mechanisms has drawn the attention of NBA scouts around the league. Kurucs did not participate in the NBA Draft Combine this month and has not participated in any agility/body testing so there is a lot unknown about his athleticism going into this draft. All in all, Rodions is a very skilled and well polished offensive player and can bring a lot to the table for a young NBA franchise that has time to develop their youth.
Strengths: There is no denying that Kurucs has great size and length for a wing player. Not only does this make him more versatile on the floor, but allows him to be able to play any position. For anybody who has watched Rodions play or watched some of his tapes, it is very clear that he is a good athlete. He can run the floor with ease and plays pretty physical on the drive. Kurucs runs with long strides and blows past defenders that are not on their toes. One thing that has NBA teams interested in Kurucs is the energy and passion he plays with. NBA scouts, based on their evaluations, have stated that Kurucs is a very passionate player and shows no signs of being afraid to play on the big stage. Rodions Kurucs’ confidence also has drawn the attention of NBA personnel. He will continue to shoot when missing multiple shots until he finds a groove. As for Kurucs’ offensive game, he excels as a spot up shooter. Teams looking for a reliable NBA wing shooter should not look past Kurucs. He can virtually shoot from anywhere on the floor and can create mismatches all over the floor with smaller guards and forwards. On the defensive end, Kurucs’ wingspan makes it difficult to pass around him and has the tools to become a solid and reliable defender. In the right system, Rodions Kurucs could become a top-10 two-way player in the NBA.
Weaknesses: One thing that lots of NBA GMs worry about are a player’s injury history. For Kurucs, he has already had two major injuries and could be labeled injury prone by some scouts. Both injuries were to Rodions’ knees and were surgically repaired. His weight also has some NBA personnel worried. Kurucs stands 6’9”, but only 190 lbs, so he will need to bulk up to keep up with the physicality of the NBA. As stated early, Rodions is very physical and is not afraid of contact, but in the NBA, he won’t absorb contact as well as he did in Europe, which could lead to more injuries. Rodions Kurucs relies heavily on his right hand when dribbling and sometimes forgets he has a left hand. Ball Handling is something that Kurucs needs time to improve on, but is a minor issue for the spot up wingshooter. Kurucs does an excellent job posting up smaller defenders, but does not have polished footwork or the strength to be a threat against smaller NBA guards. As of now, Kurucs wouldn’t be more than a corner specialist/mid-range threat in the NBA because he does not always make the right decisions passing. As a result of only using his right hand at times, Kurucs is tempted more to always pass right instead of the rest of the floor. NBA teams will catch onto this and wind up trapping him and forcing turnovers. These minor issues will take time for NBA teams to adjust, but in the long run, Rodions Kurucs could develop nicely.
Comparison: Sam Dekker
Like Kurucs, Dekker is a lengthy wing that stands 6’9”, 230 lbs. Coming into the league Dekker had the height and shooting ability to be a successful wing player, but some scouts questioned his weight, 210 lbs. After just a year in the league, Dekker has become a role player for the Rockets and has become more physical as a result of gaining 20 lbs. If Kurucs can do the same as Dekker and continue being physical, he could truly shine as a dominant NBA wing player. Both players have a very nice shooting stroke that still can be polished. Dekker’s ball handling is better to that of Kurucs’, but Kurucs is more physical on the drive. Rodions Kurucs is a highly skilled international prospect. If he remains healthy and works on some of his weaknesses, Kurucs can become a very good player in the future.
Be sure to check out our other Top 30 Breakdowns and NBA Draft Charts: NBA Draft Big Board NBA Draft Position Rankings