The Chicago Bulls traded for Nikola Mirotic in the 2011 draft, and after two strong stateside appearances with his Real Madrid club, the 21-year-old seems to be worth the wait.
The Toronto Raptors on Monday hosted European powerhouse Real Madrid in a game broadcast live on NBA TV. It not only was a chance to see what former Bulls player John Lucas III looked like in a different uniform, but also to see if Bulls prospect Nikola Mirotic was as good as advertised.
Last Saturday, Real Madrid took on the Memphis Grizzlies and Mirotic played so well that Zach Randolph came away impressed and Sam Smith gave him a glowing review after a 14-point, seven-rebound performance.
Against the Raptors on Monday, Mirotic put up a stat line of 17 points and 12 rebounds. Even though he somewhat struggled with his shooting (5-13 from the field), itís clear why the Bulls traded for him in the 2011 draft. The kid can play.
Mirotic is an athletic 6-10, 210-pound player who moves well laterally and can run the floor. Heís not a stiff by any means. He can handle the ball and has a very good outside shot. If youíre looking for a comparison, in todayís NBA, heís a smaller, better version of Raptors center Andrea Bargnani with more athleticism.
He played okay. Had a really really good first half against the CRaptors, then completely disappeared aside from a 75 second span in the second half when he hit a shot, and knocked away a couple passes.