New Net rookies leave impression at media intro
by Bryan Fonseca
Jun 25, 2018 | 8651 views | 0 0 comments | 389 389 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Photo: Brooklyn Nets
Photo: Brooklyn Nets
After a large amount of speculation, including multiple trade rumors highlighting the Brooklyn Nets’ intention to move up before the NBA Draft, the team remained at 29 and 40th overall, selecting Dzanan Musa and Rodions Kurucs, both from Europe.

Musa, 19, is a Bosnian-born baller who last played for KK Cedevita in Croatia. Kurucs, 20, who, like Musa is also a 6-foot-9 forward, arrives from FC Barcelona in Spain.

“It’s just their confidence,” said Nets general manager Sean Marks regarding what he sees in his two European standouts. “Both these guys have been playing at a high level for years now. We’ve followed them closely. It’s a thrill to watch how they conduct themselves on the court. They can rise up in big moments.”

Marks, who fielded questions from the media beside his two picks the morning after the draft, added that the NBA is a league of versatility now, which plays in favor of both combo forwards, both of whom could potentially line-up at three positions.

“I think this goes back to the NBA where it’s a league of versatility now,” said Marks, who is entering his third full season as GM of the Nets. “I would hate to pigeonhole any of these guys and say you’re a two-guard, a three-guard, a four. Again, it goes back to how they develop.”

The two rookies also revealed a bit of their colorful personalities to the reporters.

Kurucs has played nationally for his native Latvia, the same country that produced current New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis. He won a silver medal in the U-16 in the 2014 FIBA Europe Championship.

He’s never been Porzingis’ teammate, as the two are three years a part, but they know each other a bit.

“I didn’t play with him, but I met him once before he got drafted,” he said. “I hope to play with him some day on the national team.”

Kurucs, who was then asked if he hopes to one day play against Porzingis here in the NBA, to which the rookie confidently responded, “sure, and beat his a--.”

Musa, who appeared even more confident and comfortable in addressing the media, may have adopted his attitude from his all-time favorite player.

“My idol growing up was Kobe Bryant because of that killer mentality,” he said. “He went on the court and he just wanted to kill everybody. From Manu Ginobili, I picked up that leadership, that teamwork, that work ethic. So that would be my two favorites.”

At one point Marks was actually interrupted by Musa when asked where he sees his combination of forwards positioning themselves on the floor upon arrival onto Brooklyn hardwood, which will begin this summer in Las Vegas in anticipation of an immediate NBA (or G League) jump to follow.

“I can handle the ball, like a lot,” said Musa, cutting off Marks from answering, prompting a smile from the GM and laughs in the room. “So, point guard, shooting guard, three, whatever, I’m ready to do it.”

When discussing offense, Kurucs likened his own style of play to another NBA great. The two clearly weren’t shy about player comparisons.

“I like Kevin Durant and Gordon Hayward.” he said. “I look more like Durant because I’m also skinny, have his skills. I think I get compared to him more.”
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