For multiple seasons, Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg seemed to be holding Nikola Mirotic back. Niko showed flashes of being more than capable of producing and this strategy left many fantasy GM’s scratching their heads. Following all of the drama surrounding his fight with Bobby Portis, he was traded to the Pelicans before the trade deadline last season. Upon arriving in New Orleans, Niko showed that when given an opportunity, he could produce.
New Team, Hot Start
The Pelicans needed another scorer to help out Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. Mirotic fills the void well and has been under the radar in fantasy basketball this year. This trio has been exciting to watch on the court. He’s having a better than solid start this season and is surprisingly taking more shot attempts (16.2) than Jrue Holiday. Niko is currently averaging career highs in Points, Boards, Field Goal Attempts, and FG%. Part of this can be attributed to him playing minutes at center. The only category that he has substantially regressed in is his free throw shooting. How much longer all of this lasts is still to be determined, but Mirotic has been an interesting surprise.
Niko is currently averaging career highs in Points, Boards, Field Goal Attempts, and FG%.
Compare what Mirotic did in his first 30 games as a Pelican last season, vs. what he’s done through 11 games this season.
With minutes at center, his shot selection has seemed to change this season. While Niko has been shooting 3’s at a slightly lower percentage this season, compared to his shooting from last season (32.9 vs. 37.7%), his increased volume in shooting has allowed him to maintain essentially the same amount of 3 pointers made. Add in that he now has been taking 30% of his shots at the rim, vs. 20% last season and you can see why that field goal percentage has jumped. It also looks like he loves that left wing.
The Pelicans currently sit in the top 5 in pace at 105 possessions per 48 minutes, which bodes well to accumulate more counting stats. Anthony Davis is the main man in New Orleans and the best player in Fantasy when he’s on the court. He does have an injury history and if anything were to happen, that would boost Mirotic’s value even further, as he and Jrue would become usage monsters.
One thing fantasy GMs were wondering heading into the season, was how the arrival of Julius Randle would effect Niko. So far they have both played well, with Randle playing well and offering fantasy teams top 100 value. Mirotic’s production has been completely unaffected by Randle and he has spent less than 16% of his time sharing the court with him. The coaches may still be trying to figure out how best to pair them when resting AD, as opposed to figuring out a way to have all 3 on the court at the same time, which has only happened for a total 8 minutes and 50 seconds.
Mirotic is currently ranked 24th in fantasy basketball and it’s hard to believe that will be sustainable all season. I love Mirotic, but this appears to be a sell high moment. While he will probably still maintain top 50 value this season, the fg%, points, and boards will probably regress back to something closer to what he did last season. Dial up another GM in your league to land yourself a top 20-25 player if possible. Two options that you can take here. Option A is to go Kevin’s route being mutually beneficial to an opponent in your league when negotiating a trade. Option B is to go Starks route and take a GM for a ride in negotiating. We will have articles soon this season to expand on how each option works. Until then, reach out to a GM in your league and see what his market value is worth.
You can send them this video.