Nikola Mirotic Still Adjusting to Bigger Role for Chicago Bulls

November 25th, 2015 by Sean Highkin Leave a reply »

PORTLAND, Ore. — During Chicago Bulls training camp, head coach Fred Hoiberg made a bold, unorthodox and, some would say, controversial decision: Former Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah would move to the bench, and second-year power forward Nikola Mirotic would replace him in the starting lineup.

The idea was to open up the offense—Noah and Pau Gasol had never really worked as a frontcourt tandem, and Mirotic’s floor-stretching ability would better complement Gasol and take pressure off Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler.

That was the plan, anyway. But rather than blossoming after a promising rookie season, Mirotic has struggled.

His outside shooting, in particular, has been the definition of streaky: four stellar shooting nights to start the season followed by three atrocious ones, and an 0-of-6 night from beyond the arc in Friday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors followed by a strong 3-of-4 performance from deep in Tuesday’s 93-88 road win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

On the season, Mirotic is shooting just 37.2 percent from the field and 33.8 percent f ...

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