After the tragic news of former MVP Derrick Rose needing surgery for a torn meniscus in his right knee, the future for the Chicago Bulls didn’t look very bright. Nikola Mirotić didn’t feel this way at all though. The Chicago rookie has really improved his game and is showing that this team isn’t done just yet.
The 24 year old Spanish rookie Nikola Mirotić has been putting on a show lately. He is coming off of a win against the Charlotte Hornets last night, where he recorded 28 points and 8 rebounds. On top of that, Mirotić was shooting 10/19 from the field. Pretty impressive stats for the rook. Mirotić hasn’t shown any sign of stopping either, as it seems his game is only improving.
Mirotić has a pretty stacked résumé from his days in the Euroleague. He is a two-time Euroleague Rising Star, a FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship MVP, and a two-time All-Euroleague Second Team player. On top of all of these awards, he’s also a two-time All-ACB Team player, a Spanish League MVP, and a Spanish King’s Cup MVP. So what do all of these achievements mean for the Chicago Bulls? It means that they have a player who can take control and shine under the spotlight. This is the type of player they need for the playoffs.
Mirotić isn’t the only key component to help the Bulls succeed in the playoffs. Former Laker veteran Pau Gasol has ignited this season and is showing that he’s ready to fight for a shot at the championship. The All-Star Gasol is currently averaging an outstanding 18.4 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. Also, all of Pau’s experience in the playoffs with the Lakers will definitely help the Bulls advance. Jimmy Butler is another player that will contribute to the Bulls playoff run quite a bit. Butler just returned last night versus the Hornets after suffering an elbow injury. In this return, he recorded 19 points and 9 rebounds–pretty decent game for the 2015 All-Star. With his improvements offensively and defensively throughout the season, the Bulls will really benefit from having Butler on the court during the playoffs.
Will all of these factors be enough for the Chicago Bulls to make a run at the NBA Finals? With Mirotićs name being tossed around in the Rookie of the Year conversation, there is no doubt that this player is a threat on the court. Despite only averaging 9.5 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game, Mirotić has proved that he is an explosive player. He has the experience the Bulls are looking for and can be a big time player when it comes to crunch time. I believe if Mirotić can come alive under the spotlight, the Bulls could still be a threat in the Eastern Conference.