Analyzing Arturs Kurucs

April 27th, 2020

by Alan Lu

I took the time to watch BC VEF Riga’s 6-3, 2000-born point guard, Arturs Kurucs play in a Latvia Basketball League game against Tartu, as they squared off on February 26th, and I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via Paf Latvian-Estonian Basketball League.  Arturs Kurucs is the younger brother of current Brooklyn Nets’ forward, Rodions Kurucs, and Arturs Kurucs had recently declared to enter the 2020 NBA Draft.  I set out to watch Arturs Kurucs play to get a feel for his strengths and weaknesses.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Latvian guard, Arturs Kurucs is a second round candidate for the 2020 NBA Draft.
(Photo: Mikus Kļaviņš, via sportazinas.com)

Arturs Kurucs is an agile, skilled playmaker that can help his team in a variety of ways on offense.  He is a good shooter that excels at knocking down threes to space the floor for his team.  He was able to run off of a ball screen to make a corner three, and he also made a pull-up three from the left wing another time. 

He also did a decent job of scoring on drives to the basket.  Kurucs was able to drive up the court off of a steal to score on a two-handed dunk, and he also can draw plenty of fouls upon his defenders.  Sometimes though, he can be prone to missing shots around the basket, as he can sometimes go in too fast every once in a while.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Kurucs is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he can throw solid interior passes to find teammates on the move.  Early on, he threw a long lob pass to a teammate on the break to set up a score, as he threw a nice touch pass that time and displayed good court vision.  Sometimes though, he can be turnover prone.  He threw a low entry pass that got intercepted once, and he also had a ball poked away another time, as he did not protect the basketball on that play.

Plus, he also showed a good ability to rebound the basketball.  Kurucs hauled in boards on both ends of the floor, and he would tend to push the ball up the floor after getting defensive rebounds for his team.

In addition, he also played decent defense.  Kurucs is a quick, agile player that has good feet to defend out on the perimeter, and he was able to run in to poke a ball away to get a steal.  He also would actively fight through screens to stay with opposing ball handlers, and he also was able to successfully challenge a mid-range shot to force a miss.  On the other hand, there was one play where he was late to get back on defense, in which his teammate ended up committing a foul on the break.  He also was challenged a whole lot defensively, as the other team had trouble scoring in general.

In general, Arturs Kurucs is an intriguing prospect, as he is an athletic, skilled combo guard that has been excelling in the Estonian-Latvian Basketball League this year.  He is a good shooter that has a knack for making outside shots from long-range, and he has shown flashes of his playmaking ability.  On the other hand, he will need to prove that he can succeed at higher levels of international basketball.  Right now, he could be a potential second round pick in this year’s NBA draft.  If Kurucs can continue to improve and hone his game, he could end up being a reliable role player similar to former Cleveland Cavaliers’ guard, Daniel Gibson in the NBA.

Other Notes:

Tartu’s 6-6, 2000-born forward, Hendrik Eelmae from Estonia showed a good ability to score on hustle plays and make mid-range jumpers, and he also was active as a help defender in his team’s loss to BC VEF Riga.  Eelmae was able to smartly pass off of an opponent’s back to score on an inbounds play.  He also will play passing lanes, as he was able to intercept a pass to get a steal due to possessing good length, quickness, and timing to do so. 

Overall, Eelmae is an athletic swingman that excelled attacking the basket to score inside, and he also defended well.  He didn’t quite play nearly as well in the other games this season, but he could be a player to watch in the future.

BC VEF Riga’s 6-1, 2001-born point guard, Emils Krumins from Latvia also played in this game, and he was able to make some good plays in his team’s win over Tartu.  Krumins can score the basketball in a variety of ways, as he has a decent first step off the dribble to get to the rim, and he also excelled at making corner threes to provide floor spacing for his team.

He also is an unselfish player that can find teammates on the move.  Krumins is an aggressive playmaker that can quickly get into the lane, and he can throw timely passes to set up scores for his teammates.  Sometimes though, he can be a bit careless with the basketball, which led him to commit some turnovers.  He lost the ball on one drive and ended up getting tied up by a defender, and he also threw a weak pass another time that was intercepted.

He also is an aggressive defender that will play passing lanes to get steals and deflections, and he will look to aggressively to stay with opposing ball handlers to contest shots and to cut off penetration to prevent his opponents from getting all the way to the basket.  Sometimes though, he would take the wrong angles when trying to stay with his man, and he also had some trouble guarding stronger players.

Overall, Krumins had a fairly good season in the Estonian-Latvian Basketball League, and he is a player that can effectively run a team at the point.  He can immediately step in as a backup point guard to provide some solid minutes for his team at the pro level, but his lack of ideal size or physical tools may make it tough for him to succeed at higher levels.  Right now, he will need to prove that he can succeed at higher levels of international basketball, but Krumins could be a player worth keeping tabs on down the road.

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