LB Mock Draft #24: Hornets Select Jusuf Nurkic

What a great kid.

Big Men come in a can. They were put there by a man ... in a factory ... down-town. If I had my little way, I'd draft Big Men every day.

I admit that I was a bit confused at first when I got saddled with the Hornets and the #24 pick. After studying New Orleans’ squad for a few minutes, and then Alabama St’s roster, I realized that I’m selecting for Michael Jordan’s team. The Charlotte Horncats. MY Charlotte Horncats.

After Rich selected Nik Stauskas at #9 for Charlotte, Jusef Nurkic at #24 is a slam dunk. I can see Chad Ford’s post-draft grades now:

Dave nailed this pick. Getting a lottery-talent at #24 is tremendous value. Sometimes you win a draft by outsmarting the other teams, and sometimes you win the draft by just being lucky. The big 6’11" center who has been compared to the bruiser, Nikola Pekovic, just fell into the lap of the upstart Horncats. It’s a great insurance policy for Big Al, who suffered from some foot problems towards the end of last season. Grade: A+

Thanks, Chad. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Jusef "Juice" Nurkic is a 100% red-blooded man. He’s country strong , like Russell Branyan and Rob Deer. While all of you calorie counters are out in the world laboring through juices cleanses, MY Juice is eating steak and raw potatoes.

I think my smoothie needs more kale. Wah wah.

Nurkic drinks whole milk. The thicker the better. We want our milk to have the consistency of cement mix. Nurkic is a healthy, healthy 6’11" and 280 lbs, and just 19 years old. Do you know what that is? That’s five generations of large family breeding.

According to Draft Express, Nurkic averaged 11 and 5 in the Adriatic League, which may not seem all that impressive until you realize that he played 16.5 minutes per game. Now why he played just 16.5 minutes per game is a valid question. Per DX:

Nurkic only plays 16 minutes per game at the moment due to foul trouble, youth, conditioning issues and his team's style of play, but is making the most of his playing time in a major way, posting 13 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks in that span, shooting 63% from 2-point range. His per-40 minute production has been outrageous in turn, at 33 points, 14 rebounds, 4.1 steals, 1.9 blocks and 11.7 free throw attempts—helping him lead the Adriatic League in PER by a wide margin at 44.5 in the early going.

33 points, 14 boards, 4 steals, and almost 12 FTAs per-40? Oh, hi there, Elgin Baylor, I didn't see you come in. Have you met, J.P Melle, yet?

The upside and the value outweigh the unknown. What better system for the big man to get acclimated in the NBA than backing up the formidable, Al Jefferson? It’s a minimal pressure gig. There’s no rush to contribute right out of the gate. Juice can play a few minutes at time, hit the glass, body some people up, and then re-hydrate on the bench. Low usage, high efficiency - just like our sex lives.

Fine, not yours. Everyone else's.

Jusuf Nurkic 2013 International Scouting Report (via DraftExpress)

Houston is on the clock.

1. Cleveland CavaliersJoel Embiid
2. Milwaukee BucksAndrew Wiggins
3. Philadelphia 76ersJabari Parker
4. Orlando MagicDante Exum
5. Utah JazzNoah Vonleh
6. Boston CelticsAaron Gordon
7. Los Angeles LakersJulius Randle
8. Sacramento KingsMarcus Smart
9. Charlotte HornetsNik Stauskas
10. Philadelphia 76ers - Gary Harris
11. Denver NuggetsZach LaVine
12. Orlando Magic - Dario Saric
13. Minnesota TimberwolvesKyle Anderson
14. Phoenix Suns - Doug McDermott
15. Atlanta Hawks - James Young
16. Chicago Bulls - Elfrid Payton
17. Boston Celtics - Clint Capela
18. Phoenix Suns - Adreian Payne
19. Chicago Bulls - Rodney Hood
20. Toronto RaptorsTyler Ennis
21. Oklahoma City Thunder - P.J. Hairston
22. Memphis Grizzlies T.J. Warren
23. Utah Jazz - K.J. McDaniels
24. Charlotte Hornets -  Jusuf Nurkic


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