Despite all the great talent the Brooklyn Nets have assembled this summer, there’s one unnoticed player that new coach Jason Kidd feels will have a significant impact next season.
“Mirza [Teletovic] will be an important part of this team. He’s the guy who can contribute to the defense and has a good shot,” said Kidd during the press conference that introduced new additions Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry.
While Kidd’s words had to make Teletovic’s ears perk up – he averaged only 9.4 minutes in 53 games played last year in his first NBA season – the chances of them coming to fruition don’t seem very promising at this stage. Teletovic is 6-foot-9 and has displayed a respectable three-point touch from time to time, but he resembles more of an oversized small forward than a prototypical power forward because of what he learned playing professionally in Europe.
There would be no issue there, whatsoever, if the majority of the minutes for the backup small forward role weren’t automatically going to the newly acquired Andrei Kirilenko. Unless he goes down with an injury or goes through some sort of mega-slump, it’s going to be difficult for Kidd to split more than a non-crucial amount of his minutes with Teletovic.
Of course, Kidd could slide Teletovic into the reserve power forward spot, but he would have to display more value to the team at that position than Reggie Evans and rookie Mason Plumlee. With those two being much more proficient rebounders, Teletovic will have a tough time claiming a significant chunk of their minutes.
Kidd may be right about what Teletovic is capable of bringing to the table, but he’ll have to find a way to produce consistent playing time for the big man in order to make him an “important part.”