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.