Nikola Mirotić has been quite the mystery.
The Chicago Bulls acquired Mirotić on draft night in 2011. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the 23rd-overall pick in the first round. Mirotić, a native of Podgorica, Montenegro has been touted as an excellent prospect, but has remained in Spain since 2008, playing for Real Madrid in the ACB League.
Over the last few years, there have been several rumors and debates about when Mirotić would finally join the Bulls and although there has been a report the Bulls wanted him to wait one more season in order to keep their cap space clear, it looks like Mirotić will finally be suiting up for the Bulls in the 2014-2015 season (and with the Bulls looking like they may miss out on New York Knicks’ free agent forward Carmelo Anthony, they will likely welcome Mirotić with open arms).
Mirotić is clearly a talent, but some wonder just how talented he is. According to former college coach and current ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, who spoke with Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago, Mirotić would have been a top-4 pick in last months’ 2014 NBA Draft.
“I think he would have been the guy like we said with Jabari Parker, he’s the most ready to play in an NBA game right now,” Fraschilla said on ESPN 1000’s “Waddle and Silvy Show” on Monday. “And we might have even made the statement Andrew Wiggins may have the most upside, but I honestly think he would have been in the top [few picks]. Let’s assume a healthy [Joel] Embiid, you’re definitely talking about [Mirotic being] a top-four pick…
…When asked for an NBA comparison, Fraschilla compared Mirotic to a young Hedo Turkoglu, a player who can space the floor for Derrick Rose and knock down jumpers. But he also noted that fans should not expect too much too quickly.
“I think the Bulls are getting a really solid player here,” Fraschilla said. “But they’re not getting Dirk Nowitzki, certainly not at this stage of his career.”
Mirotić averaged 13.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game for Real Madrid last season.