The Case For Nikola Mirotic as Rookie of the Year

The Case For Nikola Mirotic as Rookie of the Year
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Stats Among Other Rookies (among qualified)

  • 1st in double-doubles (3)
  • 2nd in three-point percentage (38.6%)
  • 3rd in blocks per game (0.84)
  • 4th in rebounds per game (5.2)
  • 5th in free throw percentage (83.3%)
  • 5th in field goal percentage (44.8%)
  • 7th in points per game (7.3)

Last 5 Game Stats

  • 11 points per game
  • 8.6 rebounds per game
  • 1.8 assists per game
  • 1.0 steals per game
  • 2.0 blocks per game
  • 1.2 turnovers per game
  • 50.0% field goal percentage
  • 33.3% three-point percentage
  • 90.8% free throw percentage

 

As you can see, Nikola Mirotic has had a pretty successful rookie tenure with the Bulls thus far. He's among the top rookies plenty of statistical categories, and he's been even better for the Bulls recently. Notching a double-double in two of his past four games, Mirotic has flashed his potential while Taj Gibson has been out with an ankle injury. Heading into the season, many knew about the talent that Mirotic possessed on the offensive end. He's flashed that talent many times this year, showing he already possesses one of the most lethal shot-fakes in the NBA. However, not many knew about the talent on the defensive end that Mirtoic would bring to the table.

Everyone knows Mirotic is not the most athletic guy. He is top-heavy and hasn't really figured out the proper footwork when stepping out on someone on the perimeter (cc: Kemba Walker). However, Mirotic has more than held his own against opposing bigs. Mirotic's big body (6'10", 209 lbs.) certainly helps him keep proper positioning down on the block. Mirotic is good with his hands, flashing his ability to block shots frequently over the Bulls' recent stretch of games. With all of this talent and potential Mirotic possesses, and all that Mirotic has done for the Bulls (stepping up while various injuries ravaged Taj Gibson, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah), why shouldn't he be Rookie of the Year?

Your guess is as good as anyone else's. No other rookie ranks as high in as many statistical categories among other rookies as Mirotic does. Mirotic has been crucial for the Bulls, stepping up and filling whatever needs Thibodeau and company need filled through various injuries. Without Mirotic, there's absolutely no way that the Bulls would be sitting at 12-7 and in first place in the Central Division right now. In terms of pure talent, Mirotic might have the most "already achieved" talent (for lack of better description: potential already tapped into). With no signs of Taj Gibson coming back in the immediate future, there's no reason to believe that Mirotic, who has played an average of 27 minutes per game over the last 5 games, won't improve on his steadily-rising statistics and climb even high on the rookie leaderboards.