The King of Bosnia is what Mirza Teletovic is called back home and the Brooklyn Nets hope he can become at least a “prince” in Brooklyn. Teletovic was signed this off-season to a 3-year $9 million contract by the Nets to be the power forward that can stretch the floor and knock down shots to help open things up for Brook Lopez.
Teletovic came stateside after playing in Europe since 2002 and the 27 year old has been highly touted as the best player in Europe so expectations were high. The start to his NBA career did not go so well as ex-coach Avery Johnson did not think Teletovic could be an all around player and buried him deep on the bench for the first 25 games.
Then came the coaching change in Brooklyn, PJ Carlesimo taking over, and with it came a new life for Teletovic. A clean slate and a new coach to show what he could do is exactly what he needed and he seems to be taking full advantage of the situation.
This past week the Nets found out first hand that Teletovic can play and is much more than just a shooter. He got his shot to play when the Nets took on the Sacramento Kings after a double overtime win the night before where the starters played a ton of minutes.
He came in to start the second quarter and played a solid nine minutes to help the Nets put together an 18 point lead and break the game open. He hit a couple of 3-pointers to help create the lead and also showed everyone he is not one-dimensional with his all around play on the other end of the floor.
Teletovic ended the game with 14 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks on Demarcus Cousins in almost 21 minutes of playing time. He has his work cut out for him but he seems to be hell bent on showing everyone he is not just a power forward that can shoot the three.
“People just think that I’m a 3-point shooter,” Teletovic said. “I can do so many more things and I can help the team out in different ways.”
He is averaging 9.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in last three games while shooting 52.3 percent overall (10-of-19) and 54.5 percent from 3 (6-of-11) in those games.
Teletovic did not sulk when he did not get playing time early in the year and did what great players do. He watched teammates and tried to incorporate what he saw into his game.
“I really learn a lot from Reggie [Evans],” Teletovic said. “He’s a great defensive player and I’ve just been watching so many games of them playing and the way Reggie is defending. I just try to copy him some how if I can.”
The Kings game was his best of the year and hopefully now that Carlesimo has given him an opportunity to play more he can continue to take advantage of it and solidify a spot in the rotation. The Nets need a “stretch 4″ more than anything and if Teletovic can come in and continue to play solid defense to go with his impressive offensive abilities it can only help the Nets be the team we all hoped they would be.