Not only does the return of Nikola Mirotic give the struggling Bulls an extra offensive weapon, he provides a calm confidence that the young team can benefit from. Nick Friedell of ESPN writes that Mirotic has set the bar high upon his return, taking particular pleasure in the fact that the 5-20 team is 2-0 since he returned to the court.
Friedell adds that Mirotic has been playing particularly well alongside frontcourt teammate Bobby Portis. Together the pair who’s training camp skirmish made national headlines is rocking a 115.6 offensive rating with a 103.8 defensive rating. The pairing alone has yielded 59 of the Bulls’ 223 points over the last two games and they’ve only been on the floor together for 24 minutes.
The Bulls may be in the midst of a rebuild, not particularly committed to any specific player, but Mirotic has shown plenty of potential when asked to take on a large offensive role. From March 22 on last season, Mirotic averaged 17.0 points and 7.2 rebounds in just under 30 minutes per game.
There’s more from the Central Division:
- The fact that DeAndre Jordan hired an agent with a close connection to Jason Kidd could give the Bucks an advantage in any trade negotiations with the Clippers, Ken Berger of Bleacher Report writes. Agent Jeff Schwartz represented Kidd for much of his playing career.
- A big three on Saturday night could help Jae Crowder bust out of his shooting slump, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. The Cavaliers forward has struggled from long-range, particularly in the fourth quarter, and has ceded some minutes to reserve Jeff Green. “Y’all know I’ve been struggling. It feels good to finally see one go down, especially late in the game,” Crowder said. “I’ve made quite a few of those in my career, but I haven’t made them like I wanted to here. I just want to build off this win.”
- If Jabari Parker‘s future with the Bucks is uncertain given his health, contract status and the emergence of Giannis Antetokounmpo, one team that could be in play to acquire him is the Jazz. Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News details Parker’s connection to the The Church of Latterday Saints which has famously strong roots in Utah. Parker, it’s worth noting, had BYU in his top five potential colleges coming out of high school.