When the Brooklyn Nets announced that their star center Brook Lopez was going to miss the remainder of the 2013-14 NBA season due to yet another foot injury, it definitely felt like all hope—even if there was only a miniscule amount remaining after how the Nets have started this season—was lost.
Coming into Friday night’s contest against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Nets had lost their first two contests playing without Lopez. However, against a Bucks team that might actually be worse than the Nets, Brooklyn was able to find a bit of rhythm, as was Nets forward Mirza Teletovic off of the bench, and come out with a win.
Playing 31 minutes in the frontcourt as a reserve, Teletovic put up 19 points, six boards, two assists and one block while shooting an impressive 7-13 from the floor and 5-9 from three. Teletovic showcased his ability to give this team energy on both ends and to also stretch the floor for them on the offensive end of the floor.
Leading up to and in Lopez’s absence, Teletovic has been stepping up for Brooklyn. In his second season since coming to the Nets from overseas, Teletovic has averaged 15.5 points, four boards, 1.8 assists and one block in 28.4 minutes per game while shooting 48.9 percent from the floor and hitting 43.8 percent of his eight three-point attempts per game.
This Nets team obviously isn’t going to be able to replace Lopez with just one player, but having role players like Teletovic is certainly a way to make his loss less impactful for this team and possibly help them climb back into playoff contention. A win over the Bucks might not mean much, but Teletovic’s recent play could be a positive sign of things to come.