Next to, “Is my boy D Rose gonna play this year?!” the biggest question Bulls fans have is, “When is Nicola Mirotic coming to Chicago?!” And although I wasn’t able to get that answer or talk to the man himself, I was able to chat with a very close friend of his, Hector Fernandez.
Hector Fernandez is the Director of “Al Primer Toque”, Onda Cero Radio’s sports Station show. He spoke with Mirotic regarding this interview, here’s what Hector had to say.
Q: What’s your relationship like with Mirotic?
A: Niko is a great great friend, like a brother. We are so close. He’s the best person I’v ever met.
Q: Is he aware of the Bulls history and what it means to the fan base?
A: When he was drafted by Chicago, he started to read about the institution, city and the population. He knows everything about Bulls history and we often speak about it. Its a great team and fantastic atmosphere in the arena. Its a legendary team with a legendary history. He wants to be part of the Bulls successes.
Q: Will his game translate to the NBA and why?
A: He is the best player out of the NBA. You may have doubts about Niko’s adaptation, its normal. But Niko is ready for the challenge. He can make his own shots, he is fast and his skills bright in Europe like the best. He improved his rebound capacity and is playing like shooting guard, power forward or center.
Q: What could he improve on specifically?
A: Experience. He is 23, MVP in Spain and most rating player on Euro league, but NBA is a different world. More physical, more games, less training… different. He will be better player with experience, here in Europe or in the NBA.
Q: How is he defensively? Does he understand what Thibs expects on that side of the ball?
A: He can be an offensive leader, but is an intense defender too.
Q: Is he at all worried about the speed and strength of the NBA? Can he get stronger?
A: He respects rivals and circumstances, but is not afraid about anything. He wants to learn how to be better player.
Q: Is there a player the NBA that he’d compare himself to?
A: Dirk Nowitzki.
Q: When does this deal get done?
A: It’s his decision. He’s happy in Madrid and now is in the middle of a big fight for the Euro league. He wants to win this title and after that take the best way. He and his wife will have a baby in May and personally thats important too. It’s clear that this summer is a great moment.
Q: How bad does he want to win a NBA title?
A: To win a NBA title for Chicago is a dream for him. Step by step. First jump from Europe to USA and after that comes the successes.
I know there are those of you that aren’t fully on-board with this move, and you may have your reasons. I for one want him here showcasing his outstanding ability to stretch the floor for DRose. And to those who claim that he can’t play defense, I ask you, what’s the use in having the best X’s and O’s defensive coach in the game of basketball?
Will Miller is co-host of Bulls Zone. Follow him on Twitter @BullsZoneWill