To flop or not to flop? That is the question surrounding Nikola Mirotic

SHARE To flop or not to flop? That is the question surrounding Nikola Mirotic
SHARE To flop or not to flop? That is the question surrounding Nikola Mirotic

TORONTO – Rookies aren’t supposed to get star treatment when it comes to getting to the free throw line.

Nikola Mirotic seems to be the exception lately.

The Bulls big man was averaging 7.8 free throws per game in the month of March, which would be the fifth highest average in the NBA if it carried out over an entire season.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey had one explanation.

“We got to be smart and not bail him out because he’s got the soccer mentality a little bit,’’ Casey said, all but falling short of calling the 6-foot-10 rookie a flopper.

Tom Thibodeau had a slightly more positive explanation.

“Well, that’s set up with the shot,’’ the Bulls coach said. “He’s deceptively quick, so I think when you generate speed, and you draw the contact, you’re going to get the call in this league.

“When they implemented the new rules that was a point of emphasis, so he’s got the ability to do that. And because of his shot, you’ve got to react to that, you’ve got to get upon him, and usually if we can force switches in certain situations, now fives are on him, he’s going to be impossible to guard. We try to do that as much as we can, he’s good in the open floor, so that’s all been a plus.’’

Even more impressive than the free throws, however, was the fact that Mirotic led the entire NBA in fourth-quarter scoring for March with 9.5 points per game.

“Niko has been stepping it up, along with my other teammates,’’ injured guard Derrick Rose said of Mirotic. “But I’m loving the way Niko is playing right now.

“He just wasn’t scared to mess up. He’s someone I think he’s his hardest critic. That’s the way I think he wants it. He wants to be great. You can just tell by the way he works out.’’

The Latest
Already this year there have been 203 mass shootings in America. History shows registration of powerful weapons can be an effective way to save lives
Employees for the Hispanic Housing Development Corporation referenced the ordinance in explaining to the local alderperson why they kept the heat on at the James Sneider Apartments in Rogers Park despite stifling temperatures last week.
In-person early voting starts May 26 in Chicago; June 1 for suburban Cook residents; and on Thursday for voters in Lake, DuPage, Will, Kane counties and other parts of Illinois.
It all began earlier this month when Kelly lawyer Jennifer Bonjean asked U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber to delay the trial set for Aug. 1 of Kelly, McDavid and Milton “June” Brown, another former Kelly worker.
District education chief Bogdana Chkoumbova said it’s important kids feel welcome and safe in the city: “We definitely want to engage them because they’re looking for social opportunities after two very tough years.”