INDIANAPOLIS – For Rodions Kurucs, the move from a forgotten man in the G-League to the NBA rotation was not mechanical. It was mental.
Kurucs was afraid to take a 3-pointer in the past two months and was sent to the G-League. And it was less about what was going on on Long Island than what was going on between his ears.
"No, it was in the head. It was mental, ”Kurucs told The Post, leading the Pacers to play the nets on Monday. "I didn't take that many pictures, to be honest, but only my confidence [was the issue],
“When I went to the G-League, coach [Kenny Atkinson] told me to shoot open shots. I did this. Every time I have the opportunity to shoot, I do it. "
Internally, the Nets admitted that Kurucs didn't look like his normal, confident, lively self at the start of the season. One said, "We take care of him, we talk to him and we speak to the whole person." taking into account the events of the past summer.
The Latvian had four charges before the court, and a fifth was due Tuesday. Sources told The Post that he took a knife and threatened to kill himself while spitting on his girlfriend on June 27 before throwing her on a bed and beating her.
Kurucs' lawyer, Alex Spiro, has denied the disturbing allegations. But whatever the legal outcome, Kurucs didn't have the best headroom at the start of the season, and extrajudicial problems bled into his game.
"Yes! Sure. Of course. But yes, I'm ready now," Kurucs said, shooting 46.3 percent from the depth. This would be second place in the NBA if he had enough attempts to qualify.
"I worked with a sports psychologist. I worked with myself and tried to understand what they want from me, what to do when I'm open and not every time I do it wrong. Just read that Game, make the right decision. And that was the key: make the right decisions and get more involved. "
Kurucs had been in the rotation for the first seven games before his excessive confidence in driving and refusing to shoot had banished him. He has played only 16 minutes in three cameo games in the following 17 games.
“Trust was a problem at the beginning of the year. He wouldn't let it go. It was a real lack of confidence, ”Kenny Atkinson told the Post. "Now he's gone the other way. He's gotten to the point where it says," OK, I'll let it go. "His thoughts were clearer as his shot changed.
“We know how important it is that this 4-man is able to shoot. … This will be his development piece. Will he be a constant shooter? If he can do that, he will be a really valuable player. "
Kurucs has shot 57.1 percent from the 3-point range in its last six games and 15 out of 27 (55.6 percent) from the deep in the last eleven games. After a 1-4 win in this 17 game section, that's a quantum leap.
Kurucs is ninth or tenth in a row and has played in 22 of the past 27 games. With Taurean Prince (38.7 percent overall shooting) and Wilson Chandler (29.9 percent out of 3) up and down there is a chance for Kurucs.
"He was a good shooter last year," said Spencer Dinwiddie. "He came this year and was afraid to shoot and everyone was like" What happened? "And when he finally started shooting, he couldn't miss. And everyone said," Why didn't you start a month ago? "
"He was never a bad shooter, but he came this season as if he didn't want to shoot. And we said," Bro, what are you doing? "And when he finally released the clip, he didn't miss it."