Since the Brooklyn Nets blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics all of the attention has been, justifiably, on Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and when not discussing them it’s usually on Brooklyn’s own big three of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson. In the last week or two we do occasionally hear about the rest of the team, especially when owner Mikhail Prokhorov is being accused of illegal deals with Andrei Kirilenko.
There has been one name that, for the most part, has been completely ignored — Mirza Teletovic.
It’s not hard to see why. The 6-foot-8 Bosnian forward was largely ignored all year last season too. He played in just 53 games and started in none of them despite a solid 13.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per 36 minutes. However, Nets head coach Jason Kidd has not forgotten about Teletovic and it sounds like he plans on using him more than his predecessors Avery Johnson and P.J. Carlesimo did last season.
“Mirza will be an important part of this team,” Kidd told Al Jazeera Balkans. “He’s the guy who contributes to the defense and has a good shot. These players that are presenting today are very important. However, very important, and those players who have a specific role. Also, Mirza is important to now can learn from these players.”
That must be great news to hear for Teletovic as even a new year and a new coach doesn’t offer any guarantees. After all, he is still behind starter Garnett and Reggie Evans at power forward. Evans started last season off the bench before he eventually became a starter. The rebounding monster is still expected to get big minutes this year, but perhaps Kidd will have a much different strategy for Teletovic while still using KG and Evans regularly.
The big difference is likely to be in coaching style. Both Johnson and Carlesimo favored iso-ball with Johnson taking the bulk of the shots. When they did run pick-and-roll plays it usually involved just D-Will and Lopez or Andray Blatche. With Kidd in place this could be a much different looking offense and Teletovic, a good long range shooter, could benefit from that. After all, Kidd was one of the best shooters the NBA ever saw.
(H/T to NetsDaily.com for finding that article).