Ever since the Bulls picked Nikola Mirotic (6'10" 220lbs 1991 SF/PF) in the 2011 NBA draft all I have heard is derision for the pick. Bulls fans really need to lighten up and take a deep breath, this guy is a real genuine baller.
Barely 20 years old (turned 20 in February) he played a lead role on one of the best teams in Europe. He went from a non rotation player at the beginning of the year to the 6th man and a guy who played key moments down the stretch of games for Real Madrid. These games were played against some of the best players in Europe including against NBA level talent and guys who are physically much more mature than Nikola. Real Madrid ran offense for him when games were on the line and at times was their go to guy down the stretch and he often rewarded them with great play.
He is a better talent than Donatas Motiejunas who is a year older than Nikola and hasn't seen quite the same level of competition (even though they both play in Euroleague) or received near the level of coaching Nikola has received. Nikola is a much more physical presence than Donatas as well as being a true competitor. Nikola wasn't invited to the Adidas Eurocamp that pushed guys like Bismack Byombo to the lottery as his buyout and contract status as well as late end to the season (he was just ending his season as the camp started) benifited the Bulls greatly.
He dominated in the NIJT Hospitalet game against FMP with his monster numbers: 35 points, 23 rebounds, 9 steals, 6 blocks, 9/9 from the field, 1/1 threes and 14/14 free throws for an overall ranking of 84! You have to understand that an amazing performance gives you a ranking in the high 20's low 30's and he nearly tripled those numbers! It was the most amazing performance in a tournament game since Toni Kukoc knocked down 11-12 3pt shots against a USA team in 1987!
Nikola had some huge games in Europe this year hitting 6 of 6 from 3 in big European matches. His stats for this year are gaudy...
Real Madrid – Spain ACB: 15 mpg, 8.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg. FG 59%, 3PT 48%, FT 89%
Real Madrid – Euroleague: 14 mpg, 7.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg. FG 61%, 3PT 45%, FT 86%
His shot is for a big man is the best I have seen since Dirk Nowitzki, although he lacks the ball handling, rebounding, passing and post game that makes Dirk so dominate. His shot for a big man is unbelievable and the competition level is so high that you shouldn't sleep on him. He was a great pick for the Bulls and will make at worst the best 6th man in the NBA and possibly one of the best big men in the NBA when he finally comes over.
It was a great pick as the Bulls roster is already loaded and they didn't want to add a bunch of additional guaranteed money this year. He will wait a minimum of two years possibly four before he comes to the NBA. This arrangement will benefit both the Bulls and Nikola.