By David Schuster-
(CBS) It’s just the second day of practice, and Joakim Noah is already calling rookie forward Nikola Mirotic the Bulls’ “secret weapon.” Soon enough, that secret may get out to the entire league because Mirotic — while it’s still really early — is already turning heads at the Bulls training camp.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, never one for over-the-top or unwarranted praise when discussing rookies, heaped some on anyway when talking about Mirotic.
“I thought he had a really good first day, and after watching the film it was even better than I thought,” Thibodeau said Wednesday. “He’s going to be a good player.”
And Thibodeau wasn’t the only one to lavish complimentary words toward the 6-foot-10 Mirotic, who is 23 and has professional experience in Spain.
“He’s really good, and he adds a lot more then just being a great shooter,” Noah said. “You don’t think a stretch four can run the floor or block shots but he can. He’s a hell of a player.”
For his part though, Mirotic is just taking it slow and trying to learn. He calls Thibodeau a “demanding coach but one who I can learn so much from.”
A native of Montenegro, Mirotic’s English is getting better by the day, and he’s quickly acclimating himself to his new surroundings.
“Chicago is a great city,” he said. “It has everything here, great restaurants, museums and parks. So now I’m living downtown, and I’m very lucky to come here this year because of the new practice facilities. My wife and son are happy, so everything is good.”
One of the biggest questions going into this training camp is how Mirotic will fit in and if Thibodeau will find him minutes. Past history indicates that Thibodeau wouldn’t play either Mirotic or fellow rookie Doug McDermott all that much, but both have been impressive so far and in a season when the veteran players will need to get as much rest as possible, look for the two rookies to be on the court more than one would expect in years past under Thibodeau.
David Schuster is a reporter, update anchor and weekend host for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @Schumouse.