Nikola Mirotic, the Bulls' 23rd overall selection in this year's NBA draft, absolutely dominated in the Under-20 European championships. The 6-10 forward was the tournament's leading scorer. In nine games, he averaged 27 points and 10 rebounds.
Mirotic capped off the great run with a 29-point, 11-rebound performance in the championship game, leading Spain to an 82-70 victory over Italy.
For the tournament, Mirotic shot 59 and a half percent from the field, 85 percent at the free-throw line and hit 10-of-25 (40 percent) three-pointers.
Clearly the Bulls saw a lot in the 20-year-old when they elected to draft him knowing he's likely to remain overseas for a few years.
Recently, NBA draft expert Jonathon Giovony of DraftExpress tweeted that Mirotic is "ready to get minutes in the NBA right now." In addition, one assistant NBA general manager told Giovony he thinks Mirotic "would have been a top-10 pick had he been able to come to the NBA next year."
Many Bulls fans assumed the 23rd overall pick, which the Bulls acquired from Minnesota for two picks (Nos. 28 and 43) and cash, was going to be used on a two-guard -- Providence's Marshon Brooks comes to mind. Once again, it seems management has outsmarted the fans, as Mirotic should only to grow and mature with his current professional team, Real Madrid, while the Bulls continue to contend.
Next, Mirotic is expected to play in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament/EuroBasket 2011, which begins in late August. Fellow Bulls Joakim Noah (France) and Luol Deng (Great Britain) will play, as well.