http://blogs.denverpost.com/nuggets/2015/01/28/jusuf-nurkic-left-rising-stars-world-team/12481/NEW ORLEANS — Ultimately, Jusuf Nurkic will use the All-Star break as a chance to get back home to Bosnia for a few relaxing days. But his omission from the Rising Stars Challenge, two teams comprised of rookies and sophomores, was at the very least eyebrow raising.
Going into Wednesday night’s games across the league, Nurkic was ninth among rookies (with 10 or more games) in scoring at 6.5 points, second in rebounding at 5.9 boards, and third in blocks (1.4). All solid. In January Nurkic has averaged 7.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.
“It’s unfortunate for him,” Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. “I probably had a lot to do with that because early on in the season he didn’t play a whole lot. But he’ll have his chances, he’ll have his opportunities. I’m sure he may enjoy the actual break of the All Star week, instead of having to go to New York to participate.”
The format this season is USA vs. the World, and it’s hard to argue with the players on the ‘World’ team: Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams, Milwuakee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brooklyn’s Bojan Bogdanovic, Minnesota’s Gorgui Dieng, Utah’s Dante Exum and Rudy Gobert, Chicago’s Nikola Mirotic, Boston’s Kelly Olynyk, Atlanta’s Dennis Schroder and Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins. But Nurkic’s name was in the conversation.
Nurkic has made his biggest impact on the defensive end. He is one of only two Nuggets whose defensive rating is under 100. Nurkic has the team’s best defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions when he’s on the court) at 96.8.
“He’s come a long way,” Shaw said. “I didn’t know a lot about him, and I don’t think that anybody did for that matter. He’s been very impactful for us. When he’s been out there on the floor he’s one of our highest plus/minus guys. Great ability to deflect passes and get hands on balls. He rebounds the ball well. He blocks shots. He’s come a long way.”