I don’t claim to know vast amounts of info about Nikola Mirotic’s game. Hell, I’m not even sure I’ve seen “Europe’s best player” in a full game outside of the Olympics, and even then the memories of that are vague at best.
All I know is the Chicago Bulls front office is banking on the Real Madrid power forward donning red, white and black come next season. That’s because the two lessons we’re aware of in regards to their 2013-2014 campaign are as follows:
1. Thibbs, as pissed as he and Joakim Noah may be about the Luol Deng trade and the fact they received nothing but draft picks that may or may not even amount to plum shit, will have this team scrapping for wins. Hell, despite some Windy City basketball fans’ wishes to launch into full-fledged #Sorry4Jabari mode,* it just won’t happen. Chicago’s currently six in the East right now and 7-3 in their last 10.
2. They’re going to fight and continued to take on the image of their head coach and current-face-of-the-franchise Joakim Noah. That’s just what Chicago does. This isn’t surprising anyone. But allow me to be perfectly honest for a moment. The season’s over, buddy.
Similar to Jerry Krause obsessing over Toni Kukoc and nearly shipping Scottie Pippen out of town because of it – an act resulting in Kukoc’s public defamation at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona at the hands of Michael Jordan and Pippen – the Bulls find themselves once more in the waiting room for another immensely talented, hyped and somehow relatively unknown European with range and floor spacing abilities.
The best case scenario? Real Madrid allows him to make the transition west to America giving the Bulls an opening night starting five of Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, some random free agent signing or a lottery pick, Mirotic (replacing Carlos Boozer who may get amnestied) and Joakim Noah. The worst? He gets over here and he’s Toronto Andrea Bargnani 2.0.
So here’s our homework before fully investing ourselves into the weekend of playoff football, especially important for Bulls fans. Below is a scouting tape of Nikola. Report back with a synopsis when class reconvenes Monday morning.
Or in the comments. That works, too.
* – I’m pretty sure the NBA would pull some strings to do so, too. They’ve given Cleveland more No. 1′s than any of us care to remember, so of course they’d do so to unite Derrick Rose and Parker, alumnus of the same high school playing pro ball in their hometowns. You can almost smell the feature stories right now.