Future Watch: Rodions Kurucs Rookie Basketball Cards, Nets – Rodions Kurucs was born in Cesis, Latvia in February 1998. When he was 16, he signed a multi-year contract with the Latvian club VEF Riga. He made his VEF debut in 2014-15 and would play in the Adidas Next Generation Tournament in 2015. Kurucs’ performance at VEF earned him a four year deal with FC Barcelona in July 2015. He started with FC Barcelona’s junior club in 2015-16 and would join their reserve team 2016.
In 2014, Kurucs played for the Latvian national under-16 team at the 2014 Baltic Sea Cup and at the 2014 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship. Latvia would win a silver medal at the tournament with Kurucs playing a crucial role. He averaged 13.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. His efforts would earn him a spot on the All-Tournament Team and a selection to Eurobasket.com’s All-European Championship Under-16 First Team.
Kurucs would make his EuroLeague debut on March 24th, 2017. He would play sparingly in 2017 and eventually parted ways with FC Barcelona in 2018. After receiving first round considerations, Kurucs entered his name into the 2017 NBA draft. The class featured a record-high 182 underclassmen. Kurucs would eventually withdraw his name from consideration in favor of entering with the 2018 class.
Standing 6’9” with a 210-pound frame, Kurucs fits the mold of a modern NBA combo forward. His length will keep him from defending most centers, but he has the tools to switch and guard every other position on the floor. Adding strength to his frame will be key to his development. As a shooter, he has a fluid stroke and NBA range but he can be a bit streaky. Most scouts feel Kurucs has the potential to be a formidable 3-and-D player. On draft night, the Brooklyn Nets selected Rodions Kurucs in the second round with the 40th overall pick.
This season, Kurucs has played in 63 games for the Nets, drawing 46 starts. Over 20.5 minutes per game, he averaged 8.5 points and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 31.5% from deep. He scored a career-high 24 points in losses to the Pacers and the Knicks. Brooklyn earned the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference and now faces the Philadelphia 76ers in a seven-game first round series. With the series tied 1-1, Kurucs has started in both games. In Brooklyn’s game one win he played 13 minutes, grabbed three boards and chipped in a steal. In their blowout loss in game two, he played 22 minutes and scored eight points with five boards.
The lanky Latvian will have a tough time matching up with Philly’s forwards in this series. Despite starting, he hasn’t shown much defensive effectiveness against the 76ers starting five. In the game one win, he finished with a +/- of -2. In the loss, his +/- was -21! There have been flashes including an offensive rebound/put-back after his own three-point miss in game two, but it’s going to take a lot more from Kurucs to make an impact in this series. Still, Brooklyn has already stolen a game and returns to their home court for the next two. There’s always a chance Kurucs can get hot from deep and break a game wide open for the Nets. The opportunities are there, let’s see if he can make the most of it.
Collectors can find plenty of deals on Rodions Kurucs rookie cards. They’re best suited for a die-hard Net collector, especially if he can make an impact in the playoffs. Look for his rookie cards in 2018-19 Panini Status, Prizm, Donruss Optic and Cornerstones.
Follow him on Twitter @RODIONS1.
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