Nikola Mirotic the newest big-man prodigy from Europe

Rarely who would expect that Nikola Mirotic will develop so much this quickly. He currently plays for one of the best teams on the old continent Real Madrid and is excelling to be one of the best big man in the Euroleague.

When you see his style of play you will immediately notice some similarities with the greatest player that came from Europe Dirk Nowitzki, just a few inches shorter. Mirotic can shoot probably from any situation, either coming off the screen with his quick off ball movements or off the dribble his shot will touch nothing but nylon. He has also highly developed post game and can beat stronger and bigger opponents with only one dribble in the paint.

Many people will first question how do these big man from Europe shoot so well and have a technique of guards. Just remember the passes that Divac made, the three pointer specialist Stojakovic (standing at 6’10’’), the playmaking abilities of Turkoglu, the sweet touch of Sabonis and there were many other players that never made it to the NBA and could become one of the greats (the case of Kresimir Cosic who was a 7’1’’ center with amazing dribbling skills and shooting abilities).

The reason for this is that kids in Europe that train basketball, especially in the ex-Yugoslav republics and the Eastern Block, don’t specialize in training for a particular position until their late teens. This means that each potential star no matter their physical structure will have the maximum basketball knowledge for each position and their basketball IQ comes in a sweet package with impeccable shooting and ball handling technique.

Mirotic has all of this because he comes from a country that produces quality big men for decades (Montenegro). I mean the average height out there for males is around 6’3’’, guess where did Pekovic and Vucevic began their playing careers? Below you can see a nicely packed video of all Nikola’s skills made by Draftexpress.

There is another nice thing for Chicago if they bring Mirotic to their city and that is Salary Cap. If they have a player that will provide around 16 pts and 8 rbds per game there is no need for them to keep Carlos Boozer and his massive contract. There are two equally important factors that will affect this situation. Are they capable of bringing one of Europe’s top prospect and will Mirotic follow the footsteps of Pekovic and Vucevic in more recent times and highly develop his physique and inside game. The first one is probably more important because Mirotic currently makes around $4 million in Spain and his buyout clause will worth somewhere around $3 million. This leaves CHI with the option to offer Mirotic $15 million per three years, with all those nasty tax expenses that are very low in Europe for sport players and especially in Spain and Russia. The second option is not to continue the collaboration with Boozer and offer Mirotic a bigger contract, but not close to the one that Boozer currently holds. It will be interesting to see will Chicago decide for this step and take a risk with a high European prospect or will Mirotic continue to dominate the Euroelague and ACB Spain. Image

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