Nets second-round draft pick Rodions Kurucs scored in double figures in the second and third games of the season. He then was sidelined by an ankle injury and has appeared in only six games since.
But after scoring 12 points in the final 14 minutes to spark a late rally in the Nets’ 99-97 loss to Cleveland on Monday night, it seems clear that he will be playing a larger role. Coach Kenny Atkinson said that’s something he must consider, and Kurucs welcomed the news.
“If I go on the court, I play tough,” he said. “I use my minutes, and that’s it. My role on the team is to help the guys, to bring energy. That’s what I’m trying to do every game.”
Kurucs scored eight points in a late 17-6 run, including the putback that tied the score at 97 with 18 seconds left. He had played well with the Long Island Nets on trips to the G League, stayed patient while waiting for another chance with the NBA Nets and was ready when it came.
“It was easy for me,” he said, referring to his lack of playing time in recent years with Barcelona of the Spanish League. “I know I had to keep working and earn the spot on the team, just showing I can play here. I’m a rookie. I always have to earn in the first year. Next year, it will be easier.”
Faried dis‘likes’ not playing
Kenneth Faried, who made eight brief appearances in the Nets’ first 24 games, recently “liked” several fan comments on Instagram suggesting that the eight-year veteran should receive more playing time.
Atkinson said he and Faried have had several one-on-one conversations that he described as “productive and honest. I understand his frustration, and we’ll continue to talk and I’ll continue to be honest with him.
“The social media stuff I don’t really pay attention to, quite honestly. It’s what happens in our locker room and how he conducts himself with me and the team. His work ethic’s excellent. I do feel we have a group of bigs that have played pretty well together. It’s not a slight against Kenneth. I think he’ll help us at some points in the season. Just going to have to have patience.”
Faried was not available for comment.