Weight: 190 pounds
School: FC Barcelona B
Position: Small Forward
Rodions Kurucs is one of the most intriguing international prospects in this class, and a potential draft-and-stash candidate who could be a major player whenever he makes the jump.
Kurucs’ outstanding potential begins with his excellent physical tools and athleticism. He has great height and length for a wing player and a frame that should be able to put on the necessary weight and strength he needs. Additionally, he is an excellent athlete capable of blowing by defenders with his first step and rising above the rim. He also has a very high motor, never taking a play off and giving his all at all times.
Offensively he brings a lot to the table as a versatile scorer. He is an excellent shooter with great range on his jumper capable of knocking shots down on both catch-and-shoot situations as well as off the dribble. He understands how to take advantage of defenders, taking smaller guys to the post and attacking bigs off the dribble.
Kurucs has a solid mid-range game and has shown the ability to make great passes as well thanks to his high basketball IQ and excellent feel for the game.
Kurucs has all of the tools to be a great defender down the line, though he is far from there at this time. Nonetheless, his length, athleticism, high motor, and active hands give scouts the belief that he will develop on that end.
There is no doubt that Kurucs still has a lot of developing to do physically. While his frame suggests he should be able to put on weight, his lack of strength hurts him right now. He isn’t afraid to attack the basket but struggles to play through contact when he gets to the rim. On defense, he can get pushed around by stronger more developed players.
His ball-handling still needs work as it is still pretty basic and rudimentary at this time. This hurts him in iso situations as he simply doesn’t have the moves necessary to beat guys on a regular basis. In particular, his off-hand needs a lot of work.
Defensively he still has a ways to go to be a positive on that end. While he has the necessary tools, he lacks the consistent fundamentals, choosing instead to rely on his physical tools instead. He also struggles with off-ball defense and how to properly help his teammates.
Player Comparison: Nicolas Batum
Nicolas Batum just signed a max contract with the Charlotte Hornets because of his all-around game and Kurucs has that same potential if he develops.
Like Batum, Kurucs is a long, athletic forward capable of playing multiple positions. He is dangerous as a shooter and as a playmaker and has the potential to be a terror on the defensive end as well.
He is only 19 years old, so he has plenty of room to grow and whichever team takes him will get a player with the ability to fill a bunch of roles on their team. Much like Batum does so many important things for his team, Kurucs could eventually do the same.
Fit with the Lakers
Positionally there may be some concerns as Kurucs’ primary position is small forward. However, this era of NBA basketball is all about interchangeable players who can play and guard multiple positions and Kurucs fits the bill.
Ideally, Kurucs will be able to play both wing positions and potentially even some small-ball four once his frame fills out. His ability as a shooter is a plus for the Lakers who are lacking that department and a team can never have too many players who just give maximum effort every night.
Additionally, Kurucs is a potential draft-and-stash player. The Lakers already have a ton of young talent on the team with D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr., Julius Randle, Ivica Zubac, and whoever they draft with the second overall pick. It may be better for them to have someone developing overseas for a year or two and come over when both he and the Lakers are further along in their development.