Nikola Mirotic and his Real Madrid teammates were upset by Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 98-86 Sunday in what was the first overtime championship game in Euroleague Final Four history. Was it his last Euroleague game in a Real Madrid uniform?
The NBA rights of Nikola Mirotic are held by the Chicago Bulls, and they are in desperate need of scoring and three-point shooting, two areas of the game at which Mirotic excels. But they have held his rights since the 2011 NBA draft, so why would Nikola Mirotic choose to go to the United States now?
For starters, if you watch Real Madrid games, it is obvious that Nikola Mirotic gets very frustrated at times with his role within the Real Madrid offense. He is only third on the team in scoring which is actually not surprising since he is only fourth on the team in field goal attempts.
It is only natural for a player who is the defending ACB Spanish League Most Valuable Player, and two-time winner of the Euroleague’s Rising Star Award, to want to be “the man” on his team. Nikola Mirotic is widely recognized as the best young player- and possibly the best overall player- in Europe, yet he is forced to take a back seat to veterans Rudy Fernandez, Sergio Rodriguez and Sergio Llull on the deep Real Madrid team.
Nikola Mirotic probably won’t be “the man” on the Chicago Bulls, not if Derrick Rose comes back at anywhere near his MVP level of a few years back. But Mirotic would probably be the team’s #2 option on offense from day 1, and if Rose never fully recovers from two years of knee problems, Mirotic could become the team’s focal point, even as a rookie.
Real Madrid still has two regular season games, plus an expected playoff run to another championship, in Spain. But it is very likely that those games will be the last that Nikola Mirotic plays in.
Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. He attended Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (columnist) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters, SportsCenter anchor) . In addition to running Bullsville.net and writing for The Sports Bank and ChicagoNow (Bullsville), he is also a KHSAA baseball umpire. He’s a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. Follow Don on Twitter @Bullsville.
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