Observing Rodions Kurucs Again in an LEB Gold Game

June 6, 2017

By Alan Lu

I wanted to check out another Rodions Kurucs game, as he is a tall, athletic swingman from Latvia that could end up going in the first round of the upcoming draft.  There was not a whole lot of full game footage that I could find on him, so I decided to see a match that he played in during the middle of this season.  With thanks to YouTube via Sentir Caceres TV, I was able to see him play in a December 2nd contest between FC Barcelona II and Caceres in the LEB Gold, Spain’s second division.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared in this game, as well as how he may rate as a prospect for the NBA.

Rodions Kurucs is a decent shooter that can make an occasional three from beyond the arc.  He is a spot up shooter that can knock down long-range jumpers off the catch, and he has a quick release that enables him to get his shot off easily.  However, he can be streaky with his jump shot, and he will need to make threes at a higher proficiency when he gets to the association.  He also showed a good motor when he was out on the floor, as he outhustled an opponent to quickly leap up to grab an offensive board, and he drew free throws on a put back attempt.  Kurucs is a very good free throw shooter, as he can make his opponents pay for fouling him.

However, he may struggle to consistently score off the dribble.  Kurucs does possess a good first step to the hoop, and he can use a nifty pump fake move to quickly get past his man.  However, he may struggle to score in traffic, as he missed a floater once.  Another time, he appeared to get his shot blocked on a runner, but he was called for a charging foul that may have been a questionable call at best.

Also, he displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  Kurucs is an unselfish player that can pass and handle the basketball, and he will tend to throw crisp interior passes to set up numerous scoring chances for his teammates.  He has good court vision, as he can find the open man on the move.  He also can hit cutters and find roll men after initially dribbling towards the hoop.  However, sometimes Kurucs may try to force a pass that can get tipped or intercepted, which happened once as it resulted in a turnover.

However, Kurucs may not be a very good rebounder.  He did grab a very good offensive rebound on one play off of his teammate’s free throw miss, as he showed a solid motor that time.  However, he really had trouble getting to other balls that were up for grabs.  Sometimes, he would not fully block out his man, as he would tend to allow them to get balls in his area.  Other times, he would be out of position, and on one play, it lead him to commit a foul on an opponent’s put back attempt.

He also may be an adequate defensive player.  Kurucs has above average physical tools and lateral mobility, and he can make timely rotations to help his team get stops.  He will contest shots to force misses, and he even can ably hold his own when defending the post.  He also made a nice play late in the game by racing in to poke a ball away from an opponent off of an inbounds possession to nearly get a steal.  However, Kurucs may be prone to committing a bad foul on occasion, as he committed a clear path foul on a breakaway that led his team to allow extra free throws to the opposition.  Other times, he will look to cheat off his man, and on one occasion, he over helped in the paint to allow a three-point basket to the opposition.

In general, Rodions Kurucs may be an intriguing prospect that has a fairly good set of physical tools, as he could develop into a 3 and D type of role player in the NBA, but he also plays with a point forward-like mentality, but right now, he may not be as polished as initially thought, as he may need more time to develop his overall game.  Over time, he could develop into a good role player, but right now he may not be outstanding at any one particular skill at the moment.  Still, Kurucs may have an interesting skill package that could enable him to be selected in the late first to the second round range of the 2017 NBA Draft.