Brooklyn Nets forward Mirza Teletovic and his coach of the Bosnian national team Aco Petrovic have gotten into quite the feud with both sides taking shots at each other through the media. First Petrovic accused Teletovic of showing up out of shape and that he didn’t know his role on the team. Teletovic then tweeted some photos of himself without his shirt off apparently to prove that he is in shape.
The whole thing started because the Bosnian national team was supposed to report to camp on July 18. However, NBA rules prevented Teletovic from reporting until Aug. 1. That got the following reaction out of Petrovic:
“Mirza arrived in pretty bad physical condition, with a few extra pounds. He slowed us down. However, I do not think it would be a big handicap because we can fix it and bring him to the level of physical fitness of other team members in 10 days. What worries me is that we see differently his roll in team.
“Mirza, as the captain and the best player of this team, and I as coach must resolve problem like adult men. I understand that there is 14 months frustration of not playing, but I also have an obligation to the team and people in BIH to do a best result on EC.
“Mirza must understand that there is no player in the world, including Drazen Petrovic , who played without teammates. Evan LeBron in the first year of the Miami Heat could not win it alone. I can imagine that Mirza is eager to play, but it can not be done without a team and teammates, coaches. I am telling you all of this because you have a right to know what is going on in the national team. On the other hand, Mirza and I talked about this, there was a collective meeting … I hope with public pressure we can resolve our problems.”
It sounds like, and Petrovic pretty much admitted this, that he’s going after Teletovic this way in an effort to motivate him into being a better player by taking shots at him through the media.
Teletovic’s defense was that he was late to camp and didn’t play in any serious games while he sat out. He also sent out a couple of tweets with the following picture along with the caption, “For me that is not poor physical condition”:
Now none of this should have happened through the media. Teletovic is the captain of the team and if he doesn’t even have the coach’s respect then how is he going to get it from the players? That doesn’t matter so much to us, as Nets fans, though. What does matter are the accusations that Petrovic makes that Teletovic is out of shape and frustrated for lack of playing time in the NBA.
If you remember back to last year, Teletovic didn’t get off to the best start with the Nets and there were whispers that he was out of shape. Later he explained that he was actually too bulked up from having worked out too much in preparation for the NBA and it affected his shot. Either way, it seems like he has a problem getting properly ready for games which is at least slightly troubling.
The bigger issue is that Teletovic might be frustrated with the lack of playing time he had last year. This could potentially be a problem since there was the excuse that he was adjusting to the NBA last year. He’s not going to have that excuse again this year, but he isn’t likely to get much more playing time. As it stands right now the Nets have both Kevin Garnett and Reggie Evans in front of him on the power forward depth chart.
If playing time was an issue for him last season then he very well could be pissed off this year. Jason Kidd has made it a point to say that Teletovic is going to be an important part of the team though. His game is also in stark contrast to Garnett’s and Evans’ as he is much more offensive than either of those two. So perhaps the Nets can find a way to get him regular time. It’s certainly something to keep an eye on at least.