Mirza Teletovic entered last season as somewhat of a wild card for the Brooklyn Nets, he was a solid player coming over from Europe with a reputation for being a good shooter. He had no clearly defined role, but he was expected to be a key player coming off the bench.
Instead he barely played and when he did play his spot in the rotation was inconsistent. It was clear watching him fighting for a few minutes each night that his sporadic playing time was affecting his game. When head coach Avery Johnson was fired, his playing time increased and he did well, but it only lasted three games before he was back on the bench again. At one point owner Mikhail Prokhorov stepped in and said that he’d like to see him used more often. He was, but by that time his game was so out of whack that he simply wasn’t effective.
After all of that it was easy to believe rumors that Teletovic might head back to Europe despite his three-year, $9.69 million contract. After all, if he wasn’t getting consistent time his next contract would suffer. However, speaking with Sport Sport Bosnia, Teletovic denied the rumors and said he isn’t giving up on his dream of playing in the NBA.
“Before I went to the NBA, I had offers from European teams, which were financially generous,” Teletovic said. “I followed my dreams and went to the NBA. Last season was the way it is, but I have everything to motivate me and prove to all what I can.”
“There is none of that,” he said about the possibility of a return to Europe. “Nets are my team and no one else.”
This comes on the heels of the Nets new head coach Jason Kidd said at the Nets press conference last Thursday. “Mirza will be an important part of this team. He’s the guy who contributes to the defense and has a good shot.”
Kidd also promised the end of the Nets iso-ball offense which saw Joe Johnson and Andray Blatche controlling the flow of the offense which typically resulted in fewer shots for their shooters. Instead, the offense is expected to be controlled more by point guard Deron Williams, who is much more likely to give looks to Teletovic.
Teletovic played in 53 games last season, all off the bench, and shot 38.4 percent while averaging 13.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per 36 minutes. As a power forward, he will have Kevin Garnett and Reggie Evans in front of him on the team’s depth chart. Still, he could see playing time because Garnett will have his minutes limited and Teletovic is much more of an offensive player than Evans.