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Who Is Nikola Mirotic The Supposed Messiah?…Part Three


Welcome Pippen Peoples to the third part of Pippen Aint Easy’s look into the Chicago Bulls next big thing, Nikola Mirotic. Nikola Mirotic is coming off a very successful Euroleague season that ended with a championship in the Copa Del Rey tournament. Mirotic is considered the best player hands down in Europe right now. Mirotic is also the player Bulls  management has paraded in front of fans for a while now. Pippen Aint Easy is breaking Nikola Mirotic down to see if he is really worth the hype. Part one of this series broke down what the Bulls are doing to put themselves in position to sign Mirotic and get him in a Bulls uniform. It also broke down the challenges the Bulls face in trying to get him over from overseas to play in Chicago. Part two of this series broke down Mirotic’s strengths and how he will help the Bulls if and when he does get into a Bulls uniform. Now in part three, Pippen Aint Easy will check out the weaknesses of Mirotic and if it will keep him from being a successful NBA player.

When I wrote about this guy a few weeks back, I compared him to two overseas players. One was a very successful player in Dirk Nowitzki and the other was not as successful in Rudy Fernandez. People went absolutely nuts. One thing I can say, this guy has a major buzz not just in Chicago, but around the world. It’s these people who got me inspired to do this in the first place. Before I get started, let’s give out the Surgeon’s General warning. I am not known for bedside manner when I talk about hoops. This article will break down scenarios to where Mirotic will struggle. I say this with respect to those people who are sensitive to the criticisms of this guy, you can click off this article in three, two, one…

1) He may NOT be good for the first few years in the league.

Yes Nikola is the number one guy in Europe. Cool, so? The NBA is a different game from the international game. We should all know this. The Olympic squad actually has to condition themselves when they play international rules in the World Championships and the Olympics. You don’t think that Mirotic will have to do the same thing over here? There is nothing overseas that will prepare Mirotic for the speed of the NBA game. There has been NO European player that has come in and dominated. Remember Toni Kukoc? He was the number one guy coming out of Europe in the early 90′s. Well back then his Croatian squad ran into the Dream Team in the 92 Olympics. That team was armed with an angry Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen who easily morphed Toni Kukoc into a 6’11 slender Jerry Krause and proceeded to guard the guy into the silver medal presentation. When he came over eventually to play with the Bulls, there was  an adjustment to the speed of the game. Luckily he didn’t have to play Jordan and Pippen. They were on his team and covered a lot of his flaws. Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and the great draft class coming out will have the same issues as Mirotic because…they have never played a NBA game before. The point is Nikola Mirotic will have to learn the NBA game and that will take time. One of the reason he will have to learn is because…

2) Nikola Mirotic is not that athletic by NBA standards

The NBA has changed in the last few years. How much? The center position in the NBA is becoming less and less a priority position. Everyone is trying to find that stretch four position. The Dirk Nowitzki’s for the Dallas Mavericks or Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat, who actually has a post game and showed it in Toronto. Now what does he do? he stands on the perimeter and shoots jumpers to open lanes for LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. If you need one more example of a stretch four, let me introduce you to a guy named  Kevin Love who can shoot from the parking lot. What does all of this mean? What is my point? What I’m saying is that…

3) He will struggle mightily at the defensive end

I know this guy works hard, but again, so? Even in El Madrid he is just an average defensive rebounder. That comes with learning the defensive schemes of the Chicago Bulls. I’m not saying that it’s hard but I do know Carlos Boozer has been there a while and he STILL hasn’t figured it out yet. The question will be can guard the power forward position? With the strength and speed of the power forwards in the NBA Mirotic will struggle. You just can’t compare the competition of overseas players to the NBA. You just can’t. Just like you can’t compare the Euroleague and Spanish season to…

4) The rigors of playing an 82 game season

Look it’s hard dealing with the everyday life of a NBA season. The games, the travel, practice. It’s one thing to play 30 to 40 games in a season. No one is prepared to just walk into the NBA and deal with a long season like this. Where do you think the term “Rookie Wall” comes from? That’s just the regular season. How about the playoffs? I’m pretty sure that he would be on a summer league squad somewhere. That’s a lot of basketball folks.

Again this is not to say this guy will be garbage in the NBA. That is the farthest thing from what I am saying. If you are reading this article before checking out the first two parts of the series, log on to Pippen Aint Easy and read parts one and two. The final part of the series Who is Nikola Mirotic, The Supposed Messiah, Pippen Aint Easy will put everything together and will predict if Mirotic will be in a uniform next year and will he be successful.

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  • Dr. Johnny Nacho

    So basically all of the things we were already anticipating from Niko…..struggle a bit to adjust to the league, 82 game season grind and what Euro is athletically superior? Fundamentals and shooting seem to be Euro’s strength which both will fit nicely in the Bulls rotation next season. Make it happen!

  • Michael Cunningham

    Mirotic should join the team which used a 1st round draft pick on him and was willing to wait 2 yrs for his arrival. There are plenty of NBA players who started out playing in the Euro-league. They my not be as athletic as American born players, but they come with a solid set of knowing the fundamentals. Bigs can dribble, shoot and position themselves for rebounds. While ballyhooed one and done players fresh from playing in their H.S. State championship game can run and jump, but they can’t score or rebound when playing against grown men for money. What makes Mitchell Wiggins, Jabari Parker, or Julius Randall worth tanking for and Nicoli Mirotic such a gamble? What’s Anthony Bennett, Otto Porter, Shabaz Mohamad, and Ben McLemore doing for their franchises? Nothing is a sure thing but I’d rather get the Euro MVP while we can.