It appears Nikola Mirotic – the 6-10 stretch power forward acquired by New Orleans from Chicago – will make his Pelicans debut in tonight’s game with the Timberwolves at Target Center.
It’s an 8 p.m. start, of course.
Mirotic was acquired to fill – as much as possible -- the enormous hole created when DeMarcus Cousins was lost for the season with a torn Achilles heel.
In his fourth season – Mirotic played for current Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau as a rookie in Chicago – he is averaging a career-highs in scoring (16.8), rebounds (6.4) and assists (1.6). He is shooting 42.9 percent on three-pointers.
How will he fit in with the Pelicans?
“ He’ll do really well,’’ Wolves forward Taj Gibson said. Gibson and Jimmy Butler were Mirotic’s teammates in Chicago.
“The way he plays, he can flourish in any system, as long as he gets his opportunity. I think it was a good move for New Orleans. To lose such a talented player like [Cousins], but then to pick up a player like Mirotic, that sends a strong message they’re trying to compete for a playoff spot.’’
Said Thibodeau: “He’s a terrific player. Very talented. They way they shoot and score, I think he’s a good fit. He’s smart, skilled. He can put it on the floor, shoot the three, he creates space for people.’’
Other items from this morning’s shoot:
--The Pelicans will be playing on the back end of back-to-back games tonight. But they had to get lift from Friday’s impressive 114-100 win in Oklahoma City Friday. Anthony Davis took 34 shots in that game, made 17 and scored 43 points with 10 rebounds and three steals. But he also played 38 minutes – four of the five Pelicans starters played big minutes – so we’ll have to see how much is left in the tank tonight.
--Tonight’s game ends a stretch in which the Wolves will have played 20 games in 35 days. Friday’s practice was the team’s first since Jan. 13.
--Andrew Wiggins needs 19 points to reach 6,000 for his career. When it does it he will become the sixth-youngest player in NBA history to reach that milestone.