The NBA has had plenty of overseas players grace the league with their individual styles, often formed from their time playing abroad. Most recently, there has been a significant amount of European players among the league's elite talents. These include Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Nikola Jokic amongst others. Portland Trail Blazers star, Jusuf Nurkic, who himself is from Bosnia, has spoken about the differences between European and U.S. basketball and discussed how players such as Kevin Durant would struggle in Europe's top leagues.
Jusuf Nurkic believes Kevin Durant's slim build would limit his success if he had played in Europe
It is widely known that the NBA style of play shares few similarities with its European counterparts. While basketball in Europe revolves around the team sharing the ball on offense and looking for the best opening, the NBA has individuals who have the spotlight as a franchise's star. The game in Europe is notoriously tough, meanwhile in America, it is faster-paced and players must have a host of different skills in order to succeed. Jusuf Nurkic would know how the two styles differ as he played two years in Croatia before coming to the states.
Discussing this final point, Jusuf Nurkic discussed how he saw one of the NBA's greatest, Kevin Durant, if he played in Europe. Nurkic suggested that if KD suited up in Europe, he would be an unsuccessful big due to his slim build. At 6 feet, 10 inches, Durant could be deployed at the 4/5 spot, which in Europe Nurkic discussed is dominated by traditional big men such as fellow European Nikola Jokic.
Jusuf Nurkic went on to praise Kevin Durant who has built his career on being one of the most clinical shooters in the NBA while also having slick handles and the height to consistently rebound the ball. Although Durant has always played as a forward officially, he is capable of running an offense and isn't afraid to pull up well outside the arc to drain a three.
Discussing the difference between the two continents, however, led Jusuf Nurkic to make the comments about Kevin Durant. If he were to play in Europe, the Portland star believes KD would most certainly be outmuscled by the bigger centers, therefore coaches may disregard him. This aspect of his game does not hold him back in the NBA.
Those European big men, who have a natural array of talents and are not just simply there to rebound the ball and set pick and rolls, have made their names in the NBA. Jokic at the Denver Nuggets is an outside bet for the MVP award this season and Jusuf Nurkic is a pivotal member of the Blazers team, and he was sorely missed last season when injured.
Therefore, there are ways in which the traditional center in Europe does not overlap with the American game. However, some have made the switch and succeeded given the assets they have to their play. If it were to be reversed though, Jusuf Nurkic believes players such as KD could not succeed in both.Published 18 Dec 2020, 04:49 IST