Suns’ Jusuf Nurkic fires back at Draymond Green with Kevin Durant diss

Tony Nguyen | Golden State Warriors
May 15, 2024

Draymond Green is not the type of guy who lets bygones be bygones. When he’s beefing with someone, he makes sure that he’ll be taking that animosity with him no matter what. On Monday night, during a guest appearance on TNT’s Inside the NBA, Green rekindled his rivalry with Phoenix Suns big man Jusuf Nurkic. Now, Nurkic is not the type to back down as well, with the Bosnian Beast wasting no time in responding to Green’s comments.

Posting on his official Twitter (X) account, the Suns center referenced an earlier statement of his while rubbing salt on Green’s wounds regarding the part he played in driving Kevin Durant away from the Golden State Warriors back in 2019.

“I see that brother still needs help. STILL 😢 ABOUT KD, he don’t like #drayover 🤣,” Nurkic wrote.

Jusuf Nurkic’s earlier “that brother needs help” comment has become a meme throughout social media, and it’s very characteristic of him to be self-referential. Nurkic had to find a fiery response to Draymond Green’s fighting words on national television, when he basically said that Kevin Durant is “the Suns’ big man” — implying that they had a lack of quality at center, which is a shot at the Bosnian big man.

Green is not a popular figure among Suns fans, and for good reason. After all, Green was guilty of a cheap shot towards Nurkic back in December 2023, warranting an indefinite suspension from the NBA that forced him to miss 16 games.

But Suns fans might heartbreakingly agree with what Green said in light of Jusuf Nurkic’s struggles during Phoenix’s short run in the 2024 NBA playoffs where they were swept by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Jusuf Nurkic’s first season with the Suns, a mixed bag

The Suns decided to trade away 2018 first overall pick Deandre Ayton during the 2023 offseason in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic and Grayson Allen. Ayton is a more mobile defensive big man than Nurkic with a soft touch from midrange, but nearly everyone felt that he was leaving a lot on the table and not making the most of his supreme athletic gifts.

Nurkic, meanwhile, has a track record of being a stout post defender and a strong rim protector. On top of it all, Nurkic had a much better feel for the game than Ayton. He can work from the high post as a playmaking, handoff hub, which, on paper, works best on a Suns team that doesn’t have a natural point guard.

During the 2023-24 regular season, Nurkic was healthier than ever. He played in 76 games, and in those contests, he averaged 10.9 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists, while being ever active in racking up defensive stats (2.2 steals + blocks). Alas, the Timberwolves made life very difficult for Nurkic during their four-game series.

Nurkic is not the best finisher for a big man, and he stood little chance against Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. And with the game hanging in the balance in Game 4, the Suns decided to bench him in favor of Eric Gordon, which then made Kevin Durant the de facto center — hence proving Draymond Green’s point.

It’s never a good sign when one of the team’s rotation players cannot stay on the floor at the most crucial junctures of games. Green and the Warriors may be a constant thorn in the Suns’ side, and it’s likely that Green pointed out the Suns’ roster woes to rub salt on Nurkic’s wounds, but it’s hard to deny the facticity that came with what he said on Inside the NBA.

Draymond Green and the Bosnian Beast’s beef history, a summary

All fans who kept up with the NBA during the 2023-24 season know of the cheap shot Draymond Green unloaded on Jusuf Nurkic that had him suspended by the league until he got his act together (via anger management counseling). But that was only the beginning of the rivalry between the Warriors forward and the Suns center.

During the Warriors’ February 10 matchup against the Suns, a game they won courtesy of a bonkers Stephen Curry game-winner, Nurkic tried to goad Green into embracing his worst instincts. Instead, Green let his game do the talking as he and his team got the victory. After the game, the two took shots at one another, adding more fuel to the fire of a beef that’s already been simmering.

Green then blasted Nurkic on his podcast, while the Suns center continued to retaliate with a few tweets making fun of his nemesis. The beef then hit an all-time record for heat index when Nurkic tweeted out a Looney Tunes “That’s All Folks” GIF after the Warriors bowed out of playoff contention following a play-in loss to the Sacramento Kings.

The Bosnian Beast then followed Green out of the playoffs shortly thereafter after the Suns were swept, which then prompted Green to make fun of his rival on his podcast yet again.

Now, the beef continues to cook, although fans on Twitter (X) are laughing at Draymond Green and Jusuf Nurkic as they aren’t exactly Kendrick Lamar and Drake.