All the talk heading into the 2014 offseason for the Chicago Bulls is surrounding potential free agent signing Carmelo Anthony. However, there are a number of things that need to happen for Anthony to actually come to Chicago, and if he doesn’t the Bulls will have a perfect fallback option in Nikola Mirotic.
Mirotic, who is just 23 years old, was selected 23rd overall in the 2011 NBA Draft and has since established himself as the best pro prospect in Europe playing for Spain’s Real Madrid. The 6-foot-10, 220-pound forward has drawn comparisons to other former European stars who shined in the NBA such as Dirk Nowitzki and Toni Kukoc.
Obviously, landing Carmelo would be the preferred outcome for Chicago this summer, but if that plan falls through, it would be a perfect time to get Mirotic to the NBA.
There is no doubt that the Bulls need scoring, and while Mirotic is no Carmelo, he can score the basketball. Even though his stats are a bit down this year, he is averaging 12.2 points per game and connecting on 53.7 percent of his field goal attempts.
Like Nowitzki and Kukoc before him, Mirotic is a talented three-point shooter and has made over 46 percent from beyond the arc this season. He is also a solid all-around player, averaging 4.6 rebounds, one block and one steal per game.
Mirotic may not be the player to get the Bulls back to the NBA Finals in 2014-15, but he can be a building block for a championship team. And outside of Carmelo, he has more potential than any other free agent Chicago could sign this offseason.
Adding scorers should definitely be a priority, and if Carmelo wants to come to Chicago then it’s a no-brainer. However, if he decides to stay with the New York Knicks or play elsewhere, then the Bulls should bring over Mirotic and see if he really is the player they think he can be.