Nikola Mirotic's hot March made him a dark horse candidate for Rookie of the Year, but he finished second to Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins as the league's best first-year player.
Mirotic picked up 14 first-place votes, second to Wiggins, who was first picked in the draft originally by Cleveland but traded to Minnesota in the Kevin Love deal in the offseason. Wiggins averaged nearly 17 points a game for the Timberwolves and garnered 110 first-place votes, nearly doubling up on Mirotic for total points (604 to 335).
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When the Bulls were without Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler in March, it was Mirotic who carried the Bulls offensively and helped keep them afloat. The 24-year old averaged 20.8 points and 7.6 rebounds in the month while leading the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring.
For the season, Mirotic, originally the 24th pick in the 2011 draft, averaged 10.2 points and 4.9 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per game.
Mirotic finished ahead of first-year players Nerlens Noel (Philadelphia), Elfrid Payton (Orlando) and Marcus Smart (Boston) in the top five voting.
Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine has had a great and busy offseason. He had some grueling workouts with his father, supported his teammates during NBA Summer League and even took some batting practice with former NL MVP Kris Bryant. But the best part of LaVine’s busy offseason was a very, very cool gift from his parents.
LaVine’s mom and dad gifted him a 1968 Pontiac LeMans, a rare and very collectible vehicle.
Bulls fans were first exposed to LaVine’s love of classic cars last season when he discussed his infatuation with the stable of classic vehicles owned by Jabari Parker.
With his ‘68 Pontiac LeMans now in tow, LaVine is well on his way to amassing his own impressive collection. He has a reputation in league circles for being an extremely hard worker already but there is no doubt that this awesome gift from his parents will serve as a little extra motivation as the 2019-20 season nears.
On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski and Kevin Anderson are joined by SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell
0:50 Ricky on his Top 11 players from NBA Summer League story and why Coby White was 11th
2:45 Realistic expectations for White next season
3:40 Will Kris Dunn be on opening night roster?
4:55 Mark disagrees with Ricky on where White will be in the rotation
7:10 On Chandler Hutchison and his role
9:50 Could LaVine see minutes at the small forward spot?
11:00 On Daniel Gafford and his summer league performance
15:20 On Bulls 2019-20 win total over/under at 30.5
16:55 Which team in the East can the Bulls overtake and make the playoffs?
22:00 Going over the western conference and which teams have realistic championship potential
Editor’s note: Kevin stated he thinks Portland has the best healthy backcourt in the NBA right now completely forgetting about Russ and Harden. He regrets the error.
29:30 The short list of contenders in the East
Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: