Nikola Mirotić (Serbian: Никола Миротић; born February 11, 1991) is a Montenegrin–Spanish professional basketball player for the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) tall power forward is a two-time All-EuroLeague Second Team member, and previously played for Real Madrid of the Liga ACB.
Growing up in Europe, football was Mirotić's true passion. As he got older, his family realized his height could be a lot more useful for another sport. At the age of 13, his grandfather introduced him to the sport of basketball. Mirotić spent his childhood in Montenegro, and started playing basketball with the Joker School in Podgorica. At the age of 14, he signed a junior contract with Real Madrid in the summer of 2005.
Real Madrid (2008–2014)
After playing for the Real Madrid juniors from 2006 to 2008, Mirotić signed with the Real Madrid senior team of the Liga ACB in 2008. During the 2010–11 Euroleague season, he emerged as one of his team's most valuable players, to win the EuroLeague Rising Star award. In April 2011, he signed a five-year contract extension with Real Madrid. With Real Madrid, he won the Spanish King's Cup and the Spanish Supercup in 2012.
On June 23, 2011, Mirotić was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 23rd overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft. He was later traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and then traded once again to the Chicago Bulls on draft night.
In the 2012–13 Euroleague season, he finished second in the EuroLeague Rising Star voting to Kostas Papanikolaou, and he was named to the All-EuroLeague Second Team. In May 2014, he was named to the All-EuroLeague Second Team, for the second consecutive season.
In a total of 97 EuroLeague games for Real Madrid, Mirotić averaged 10.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Chicago Bulls (2014–present)
On July 18, 2014, Mirotić signed with the Chicago Bulls to a reported three-year, $16.6 million contract. In addition, Mirotić was required to pay $3 million to Real Madrid for his contract buyout.
On December 19, 2014, Mirotić scored a then career-high 27 points, as he converted all six of his three-pointers, in a 103–97 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. On January 5, 2015, he was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in December. During the NBA's All-Star Weekend, Mirotić played for World Team in the Rising Stars Challenge. He scored 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field in the World's 121–112 win over Team USA. On March 1, he scored a career-high 29 points in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. With injuries impacting teammates during the month of March, Mirotić was expected to fill a larger role for his team. He averaged 20.8 points and 7.6 rebounds while playing 30.8 minutes per game. In his rookie season, Mirotić averaged 10.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 82 games, giving him the recognition as a candidate for the Rookie of the Year Award. Mirotić finished second in Rookie of the Year voting with 335 votes behind Andrew Wiggins who received 604 votes. He played his first post-season game in the NBA on April 18, 2015 in Game 1 of the Bulls' first-round series match-up against the Milwaukee Bucks. In 13 minutes off the bench, he recorded 5 points and 5 rebounds.
With the Bulls' 2015 off-season head coaching change, replacing Tom Thibodeau with Fred Hoiberg, came a starting role for Mirotić ahead of All-Star center Joakim Noah. Mirotić subsequently scored a team-high 19 points in the season opening win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. He started in all 18 games to begin the season, coming off the bench for the first time on December 9 against the Boston Celtics, scoring 10 points in 22 minutes of action. He continued coming off the bench following December 9, earning himself a back-up role to Taj Gibson. His next start came on December 21 against the Brooklyn Nets, as he started at small forward in place of Tony Snell. On January 1, he recorded 17 points and a career-high seven assists in a 108–81 win over the New York Knicks. On January 27, he was diagnosed with an acute appendicitis and was subsequently ruled out until after the All-Star break. He returned to action on March 5 against the Houston Rockets after missing 16 games. On March 23, he scored a career-high 35 points in a loss to the New York Knicks.
On December 26, 2016, less than two weeks after falling out of the rotation for a couple of games, Mirotić recorded a then season-high 20 points in a 90–85 win over the Indiana Pacers. After not playing by coach's decision in two straight games in early March so that management and the coaching staff could look at Joffrey Lauvergne, Mirotić landed on the inactive list. On March 13, he returned from a three-game absence and scored 24 points on five three-pointers in a 115–109 win over the Charlotte Hornets. On March 22, he scored a season-high 28 points in a 117–95 win over the Detroit Pistons. Four days later, he tied his season high with another 28-point effort in a 109–94 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. He had a third 28-point game on March 30 in a 99–93 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. He had six three-pointers against both Milwaukee and Cleveland, becoming the first Bulls player to hit six or more three-pointers in back-to-back games.
On September 25, 2017, Mirotić re-signed with the Bulls. On October 17, 2017, Mirotić was sent to the hospital after engaging in a physical altercation with teammate Bobby Portis during practice. Portis hit Mirotić in the face resulting in Mirotić suffering a concussion and multiple facial fractures. Mirotić made his season debut on December 8, scoring six points in 14 minutes in a 119–111 overtime win over the Charlotte Hornets. Three days later, he scored 24 points in his first start of the season in a 108–85 win over the Boston Celtics. He hit 9 of 14 shots and grabbed eight rebounds in his third appearance.
National team career
Mirotić was a member of the junior national team of Spain. He helped Spain's U20 national team win the bronze medal at the 2010 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship, where he was named to the All-Tournament Team. He also led Spain to the gold medal in 2011. Mirotić was the top scorer and MVP of the tournament, averaging 27 points (tournament record) and 10 rebounds per game.
In June 2015, Mirotić was named by head coach Sergio Scariolo as one of 17 candidates to try out for the senior men's Spanish national basketball team that would play at the EuroBasket 2015. Mirotić made Spain's final 12-man roster, and he went on to win a gold medal at the tournament, in September 2015. He also played with Spain at the 2016 Summer Olympics, where he won a bronze medal.
Mirotić and his wife, Nina Vujačić, have a son named Aleksandar, who was born in May 2013. His wife is the daughter of his former coach and mentor, Jadran Vujačić, who also played professional basketball with Borac Čačak, KK Partizan, and Budućnost Titograd. Even though he represents the Spanish national basketball team, he said that he is happy and proud to be Montenegrin.
Awards and accomplishments
- 2× Spanish King's Cup Winner: (2012, 2014)
- 2× Spanish Supercup Winner: (2012, 2013)
- Spanish ACB League Champion: (2013)
- 2× All-EuroLeague Second Team: (2013, 2014)
- Spanish ACB League MVP: (2013)
- 2× All-ACB Team: (2013, 2014)
- Spanish King's Cup MVP: (2014)
- 2× EuroLeague Rising Star: (2011, 2012)
- FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship MVP: (2011)
Spanish national team
- 2010 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship: 03 ! Bronze
- 2010 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship: All-Tournament Team
- 2011 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship: 01 ! Gold
- 2011 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship: All-Tournament Team (MVP)
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||PIR||Performance Index Rating|
Note: The EuroLeague is not the only competition in which the player participated for the team during the season. He also played in domestic competition, and regional competition if applicable.
|Led the league|