Jusuf Nurkic’s move to the Phoenix Suns, while not the centerpiece of the Damian Lillard trade, is a noteworthy and intriguing development with the potential for a significant impact.
Before the trade was finalized, there were subtle hints from insiders like Gambo regarding the Phoenix Suns possibly acquiring Nurkic as part of a Damian Lillard trade package.
However, this possibility generated mixed reactions from Suns fans, who were understandably concerned about the potential departure of Deandre Ayton, a beloved figure in the Suns’ organization.
Various reports suggest that there’s strong confidence in Jusuf Nurkic’s ability to make a meaningful contribution to the Suns’ pursuit of the 2024 NBA championship.
Michael Scotto emphasized that under Frank Vogel’s defensive strategy and with newfound motivation in a championship-contending environment, Nurkic could be a game-changer for Phoenix.
“There’s a belief with Frank Vogel’s defensive scheme and a renewed motivation amid a fresh start with a championship contender, Nurkic can be a difference-maker for Phoenix,” Michael Scotto wrote.
“‘Before Nurkic got injured, he was a good defensive center and was Portland’s second-best player ahead of CJ McCollum for a short time,’ an NBA scout told HoopsHype. ‘I think it might be asking too much of him to return to his pre-injury form, but he can help them if he’s properly motivated and healthy with dribble handoffs and as a positional defender.’”
Jusuf Nurkic bidding farewell to the Portland Trail Blazers marks the end of an era spanning over six seasons. As a former first-round draft pick, he embarks on a new chapter with his third NBA team, having started his career with the Denver Nuggets.
The Phoenix Suns, known for their championship-caliber roster featuring stars like Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal, stand to benefit greatly from Nurkic’s effective role fulfillment. This could ease the workload on their star players and elevate the team’s overall performance.
During the previous NBA season (2022-23), Nurkic demonstrated his skills, averaging 13.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game.
His impressive shooting percentages of 51.9 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from beyond the three-point line add an extra dimension to the Suns’ offensive capabilities.
While Nurkic has tasted playoff action in the past, his time with the Suns presents a unique opportunity to contend for an NBA championship, arguably his best chance since entering the league.
The trade that signifies the end of the Deandre Ayton era in Phoenix opens the door for Nurkic to contribute to the Suns’ redefined frontcourt identity. Ayton, who spent his entire career with the Suns, is now on a different path.
Phoenix’s playoff journey in the previous season concluded in the second round at the hands of the Denver Nuggets, who ultimately clinched the NBA championship. With an active offseason and strategic moves, the Suns are determined to pursue their first-ever championship.
Media day is over and In less than a month, the Suns will kick off their season against the Golden State Warriors. This initial matchup will provide fans with an early indication of how the Suns stack up against another formidable Western Conference contender.