Who's the best young Euro-Stash ... the prospect whose rights are already held by an NBA team but because of buyouts, etc., they haven't made it to the NBA?
Nikola Mirotic of Real Madrid is a 6'10" forward whose rights are held by the Bulls is generally conceded to be the best of the dozens of players who fit the definition. The 22-year-old from Montenegro was taken by Chicago at #23 in the 2011 draft, eight spots above Bojan Bogdanovic, who is increasingly seen as Mirotic's main competition.
Mirotic is much more widely heralded in part because the Bulls, knowing he wouldn't be available till 2014-15, still traded up to get him. The Nets did the same with Bogdanovic but they took him in the second round. Brooklyn remain hopeful they can get him over next year. Both have huge buyouts: Mirotic's is 2 million euros ($2.7 million) and Bogdanovic's 1.5 million euros ($2 million). While Bogdanovic's contract officially runs out in June 2014, Mirotic lasts two years longer. Bogdanovic is almost two years older, turning 24 in April.
Now, as the Euroleague season nears the end of its Top 16 round, what's the comparison like? In this week's games, Mirotic had the highest "index rating," similar to PER, and the biggest scoring night, with 31 points.Bogdanovic, who scored 26 on Thursday vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv, was second in both categories. For the entire Top 16, 10 games so far, Bogdanovic is tops and Mirotic isn't even in the top five. In their one head-to-head match-up, both finished with 18 points. Bogdanovic shot better, 7-of-9 compared to 7-of-13. Mirotic scored his points in 28 minutes, Bogdanovic in 37. Mirotic had six rebounds, Bogdanovic two and Mirotic did posterize Bogdanovic.
Both the Bulls and Nets are happy with their choice. Nets insiders say they believe Bogdanovic would be a top 10 pick. His performance Thursday was proof of that. He scored 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting, including 4-of-7 from three. Problem is Fenerbahce lost again and are virtually eliminated from the Euroleague playoffs.
- Game Report: Fenerbahce Ulker vs. Maccabi Electra - Euroleague