Sportress of Blogitude

Nikola Mirotic nearly unrecognizable after shaving beard (pic)

New Orleans Pelicans forward Nikola Mirotic showed up at the team’s shootaround Wednesday with a new look that left him nearly unrecognizable.

The 27-year-old big man elected to shave his trademark beard, and to say Mirotic looks completely different would not do the drastic change in appearance justice.

And the reason behind the clean-shaven look? Mirotic was looking for a change, something that may help him turn around a prolonged shooting slump. In his 12 previous games, Mirotic has shot 32 percent from the field and 23 percent on 3-pointers.

“I wanted something new. I thought it was time to shave,” Mirotic said, via The Times-Picayune. “(It’s) an important moment, and I was struggling a little bit, too. Let’s try something new. It feels good, so we’ll see tonight.”

The Pelicans (43-34) host the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night holding on to the their postseason lives. New Orleans currently slots eighth in the Western Conference, holding only a half-game lead over the surging Denver Nuggets (43-35).

On a lighter note, regarding the beard, Mirotic says the last time he’s played basketball sans facial hair was about four years ago in Europe.

“It was a long time ago and I regretted that time,” Mirotic said. “Now, I don’t regret it. It was a moment and I want to see what’s going to happen after this.”

If shaving his beard translates to shooting out of his slump, Mirotic will gladly take the superstitious route and wonder why he did not do it sooner.