Having dropped to the second round in the NBA Draft.net Mock Draft or even being put in the 2012 Mock by Draftexpress, Nikola Mirotic is a bit the “loser” of the last weeks according to these predictions. It is clear that since the departure of Ettore Messina from Real Madrid, the impact of the Spanish-Montenegrin player has dropped consequently. We took this situation as an opportunity to check his current situation a few days before the beginning of the Adidas Eurocamp.
The main event for NBA Teams to scout European players is the Adidas Eurocamp in Treviso. Normally, all of the major prospects are present in the Italian city to showcase their skills or do some individual workouts, interviews or physical measurements. However, one of the names of the beginning of the year 2011 is missing on the list: Nikola Mirotic. We predicted the emergence of the Montenegrin forward for this year a few months ago and were happy to see that Mirotic earned a lot of playing time with Real Madrid while being superbly effective or even clutch during games. Who does not remember his unreal 4th quarter performance versus Montepaschi Siena in Week 2 of the Euroleague Top16. At that moment, the NBA Draft stock for the 2m08 tall forward was at its highest point and he was discussed to be a potential lottery pick.
Since then, something has changed. Messina is not the coach of Real Madrid anymore and the production of Nikola has gone down together with the results of his team. Being eliminated in the semi-finals of the ACB by Bizkaia Bilbao and being not really present during the Euroleague Final 4, his playing time in the semi-finals of the ACB was even below 10 minutes per games when he was averaging above 20 minutes in the beginning of the year. Knowing all the above mentioned facts, it was kind of surprising to me that Mirotic is not part of the players that will be present next weekend in Treviso. So we checked with his agent about his situation in relation with the NBA Draft.
Crespo explained us that Mirotic will not be in Treviso as they have declined the invitation because of the ACB Playoffs. At the moment of their decision, everything looked still like Real would advance to the Finals and would play this upcoming weekend for the title. This has changed now so that Mirotic could theoretically be in the camp. However, they will not change their ideas and keep him out. Crespo underlined that Mirotic has proven against grown man what he is able to do and does not need to showcase his talent in such a setting. The NBA teams that have interest in him had enough time to see him play in real competition over the last months.
Mirotic extended his contract this spring with Real Madrid until 2016 which is another factor that has to be considered by the NBA teams. Draftexpress reported that his buyout will be around 3 million dollar which is of course a number hard to cope with under the current CBA conditions. Out of these info some stories came up that Mirotic is not really interested by playing in the NBA and prefers to stay in Europe. However, Crespo denies all these stories and clearly said that Nikola wants to play in the NBA one day.
So what’s next for him? The Montenegrin has until Monday evening to decide if he will stay in the NBA Draft 2011 or not. He has not done any workout and will not do any before the deadline. Any team that might be interested in him can only look at him on the long term as it does not look like Mirotic can come to the NBA before at least 2013 or even 2014. This puts him out of the lottery for sure but he might be one of the favorites for what I call the “Euro #1 pick” which is the #31. In the second round, NBA teams do not have to follow the Rookie Scale under the current conditions and can pay what they want to their Draft Pick. In 2010, this pick has been the German Tibor Pleiss and in 2008 it was Nikola Pekovic from Montenegro. Seeing another European big guy drafted in the beginning of the 2nd round would not be a major surprise to me and would give the NBA Team more financial possibilities to bring Nikola Mirotic over one day.