Bulls draft pick Nikola Mirotic probably won't join his American team for a few years, as he's under contract with Spain's Real Madrid until the 2015-16 season. But the 20-year-old told HoopsHype's Jorge Sierra he was ecstatic when he found out the Bulls had swung a deal with Minnesota to acquire the 23rd overall pick in June's NBA draft, in which the Bulls also selected Marquette's Jimmy Butler with the 30th pick.
"I was thrilled by the Chicago option," Mirotic said. "I had talked with them and I was thrilled and attracted by this possibility. So I stayed in the draft because of Chicago.
"I spoke with (Bulls international scout) Ivica Dukan, who’s Croatian, and I was very thrilled. I think it’s a team that’s growing and has a lot of young players. They have a great history and they are building a great team. Of course, I like the coach (Tom Thibodeau) and the manager is Croatian and I’m familiar with him. So my decision to stay in the draft was perfect."
Despite averaging 27 points and 10 rebounds in the Under-20 European championships for Spain this summer, Mirotic -- who revealed he learned two to three weeks before the draft that there was a strong possibility the Bulls would acquire him -- was left off the national team's EuroBasket 2011 roster. Now, Mirotic is looking forward to the upcoming season and has high hopes for himself and the team.
"It’s been a super important and key year for me because I’ve made a lot of progress," he said. "I’ve done things real well. But this has to be just the beginning for me. I know I can keep improving. I’m working on it and I expect bigger things for myself. This year, there’s a lot of expectations on me. I have to keep improving in several areas -- most notably defense and some tactical stuff. Time will tell, but I hope I can help (Real Madrid) any way I can.
"Our goal is to contend for every title. We didn’t start in the best possible way at the Supercup, we couldn’t win it, but we have the ACB League, the Cup, the Euroleague. As for myself, I don’t know what to tell you. Being 20, you can’t just focus on improving one or two things. I have to improve in every area."
Although Mirotic remains unsure how long he will stay with Real Madrid, he said he has an NBA-out provision with the club and "would like to make that jump to the NBA."
For Bulls fans that are unfamiliar with him, Mirotic broke down his game and the position he plans to play in the future.
"I see myself as a power forward, but one that can play outside and shoot the three, go to the hole … play an all-around game," Mirotic said.
23-year-old Derrick Rose's new adidas commercial: Bulls guard and reigning league MVP Derrick Rose, who turned 23 years old Tuesday, unveiled his latest adidas signature shoe, adiZero Rose 2, last week in a commercial called, "The Bull," filmed in Madrid, Spain, this summer. You can check out the commercial below: