Nikola Mirotic-Next Nowitzki Or Rudy Fernandez?

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

I’m trying to figure out something. If I’m missing something, please comment on this article and enlighten me. What is the big deal about Nikola Mirotic? What I do know is that he is from Spain and the Bulls are trying to bring him to the states. Management just don’t know when yet. They say it’ll be next year or 2015 at the latest. (I’ll take 2015 for $500 Alex.) Let’s be clear. This article is not about if this man will be playing here next year or how much will it take for the Bulls to get him here. I think  every Bulls writer around the country has played every scenario and new ones will come up until the summer. Nikola Mirotic’s name has come up the most in the last few weeks more than any player in Chicago rumors other than Carmelo Anthony. I still don’t believe Melo will show up in Chicago  because the Bulls do not have enough money to sign him to a max contract. Carmelo doesn’t strike me as the ”Dwight Howard” type who would leave 30 million dollars on the table. With that being said, let’s concentrate on Nikola Mirotic.

I have heard reports that Nikola Mirotic is the best player in Europe. Playing for Real Madrid, he is shooting 63% from the field 64% from three point land and almost 90% from the free throw line. These are awesome numbers. The question is…will this success travel across the pond to the “Windy City”? I’ve even heard that Mikola could be the next Dirk Nowitzki. Stop it. Stop it please. It’s not fair to Mirotic and it’s a insult to Dirk. Even if that was true, Do the Bulls have the patience to see if he does?

Let’s for the sake of argument say that he is the next “Dirk”. Let’s go back in history shall we? Look, I am a big Dirk Nowitzki fan. I’ve seen his documented story. His first few years in the league, he was terrible. He was so bad even he didn’t think he belonged in the NBA. The fans booed him. His teammates nick-named him “Irk” because he couldn’t play defense. With a lot of hard work, plus some needling from then Head Coach Avery Johnson, he got to be the All-NBA player that we all know today. The point here is this, there is always a adjustment period for ALL European players. The NBA game is a different beast from the overseas game. Everyone in the NBA can play, no matter what anyone says. That includes me as well. Even Marquis Teague, whom everyone dumps on for his struggles has talent to play in this league. The NBA game is faster and much more physical. At 6’10 225 where are you going to play him? He’s not strong enough to battle with power forwards so you have to make him a small forward. Do you really think this guy can chase after Lebron or Durant? With a Chicago Bulls team that is coached by Tom Thibodeau, I will safely assume that he will have to play defense. History teaches us that most European players struggle for a few years on the defensive end the most. That included Dirk Nowitzki.

Based on film that I have seen of Nikola Mirotic, he reminded me of Rudy Fernandez, another Spanish forward.  Coincidentally he happens to be Mirotic’s teammate. He played in the league for three years before going back to Spain. Fernandez was very athletic and was a very good scorer. The problem was he got caught in a system where he had a defensive minded coach in Nate McMillan who cut his minutes back based on the fact he was limited defensively. Eventually, back issues caught up with him and he went back to Real Madrid to play where he has been to this point.

This is not a bash session on Nikola Mirotic. Based on what I have seen he is a very good player. But if fans think this guy will be the magic bullet to bring the Bulls out of mediocrity. Well then you’ll believe that statue in front of the United Center is me wearing a Chicago Blackhawks throwback jersey. Just sayin.

Topics: Chicago Bulls

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  • GrizzledPete

    You offer a sane analysis on the Mirotic situation. Some fans think that we will be getting an instant superstar the moment he steps on the floor. But we will not know how he plays until he gets here. It is a dramatic increase in the level and depth of talent from the European league to the NBA. It is hard to translate what one does in Europe to what one will do here from watching film or watching someone practice. Ask Joe Dumars how easy it is to misjudge the upside of a young European player.

    If Mirotic is no better than Memo Okur, a big guy who can stretch the defense, then it will be a good thing. But Okur was a bad joke on defense. Hopefully, Thibs can help Mirotic minimize his defensive deficiencies. We all are wishing for the best, but we have to be realistic.

    • pruitte william

      You right but think if thibs can teach Kyle krover and currently Mike dunlevey to play defense how hard could it be with nikola mirotic

      • GrizzledPete

        Even Jerry Sloan could not teach Korver to play defense. Kyle is a shooter who lacks the athleticism needed to play great defense in the NBA. Thibs does a great job minimizing the deficiencies of Boozer by having him play a one-man zone in the paint, so he should be able to minimize any deficiency that Mirotic may have.

    • Omar De Jesus

      Well Actually look at what he did agaisnt the Grizzlies, scored 16 points agaisnt Zack Randolph and Marc Gasol. Randolph ask who is that guy?

  • Cameron

    What a load of waffle, he’s now 235-40lb range not 220 so the bulk is getting there, sure he can’t guard Dwight or Hibbert but who would the hell would be dumb enough to ask him to?? Bulls have Noah and Nazr for the big boys, he’d be ask to guard the Thiago Splitters and David lees of the nba, hustle players with less athleticism. As for offense his face up scoring is fantastic and post game is above average the comparison to Rudy Fernandez made me laugh, the guy plays SG/SF not PF, they both can shoot but the similarities end there he is a much better post defender than people credit him, he’s not some Bargnani matadore defender.

    • http://BringTheKickoffBack.com/ Facebook User

      Not to mention Taj Gibson is only list at 225lbs and is a pretty good defender at the PF position. I’m not saying Mirotic will be anywhere close to the defender that Gibson is, but for the author to claim that Mirotic cannot play defense simply because of his weight is poor analysis.

  • shane

    The only expectations we have for mirotic are the ones you guys created….

  • tdh

    Mirotic needs to be given a chance. CHI paid a lot of money for him (traded up in the draft 1st round). He is MVP in the Euroleague twice and ROY also on his resume, so there is potential he will play at a high level after adapting to NBA play. I think it would be unfair to expect him to be the starter on the roster as soon as he arrives given the transition which is an informed summary of the situation not unlike Dirk or Rudy. That is the KEY reason that CHI can’t trade Gibson if they plan to amnesty Boozer which is commonly tossed out there. Gibson at the 4 and Noah at the 5 with Mirotic playing 4/5 to earn his experience off the bench is possible for his first year in the NBA. If he proves himself in a season or so, then you can consider moves to make him the starter in CHI and possibly moving Gibson at that point. Until then, you need Gibson to mentor and take the pressure off of Mirotic’s transition.

  • GrapeApe

    What you got wrong:
    -Mirotic is from Montenegro not Spain, he plays in Spain. That is like saying Dirk is from Texas.
    -Don Nelson is the coach that made Dirk the player he is, not Avery Johnson.
    -”an” adjustment not “a” adjustment.

    Most importantly Nikola can shoot and that translates to the NBA. He is obviously a stretch four. He should be paired with a center who can rebound and guard the paint. I see his floor as Ryan Anderson. Yes, there will be an adjustment period, however, Mirotic is likely worth the wait. After being drafted by the Kings Paja Stojakovic played three additional years in Europe before coming over. It then took him three years to be a stud.

    • Fanboyslim

      Actually, he is a Spanish national. He’s lived there since he was a kid and got his Spanish passport long ago. He’s of course not -from- Spain, but that might be the source of the confusion

    • Ronald Agers

      Grape Ape

      Thanks for the read. I’m only saying he plays in Spain not that he’s from Spain. Sorry, Avery Johnson took Dirk over the top not Nelson. Here’s why. Johnson who can nag the ears off a billy goat got Dirk post up more. He drew more fouls and got more efficient. Dirk will tell you that. Finally Nowitzki became a better defensive player under Avery. Don Nelson taught just as much defense as Mike D’Antoni. That being said your comment has inspired me to do a multi-series article on Mirotic. Check it out and let me know what you think. As for “a” adjustment, what can I say, ran out of coffee. Keep reading!