A story out of the NY Post today describes the bumpy ride it’s been this season for Nets sharp-shooteing power forward and former European star, Mirza Teletovic.
As Tim Bontemps notes in his story, playing time for Teletovic has been slim and hard to come by. Even though he’s seen an uptick in his minutes under Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo (9 MPG) as opposed to former coach Avery Johnson (6 MPG), he’s been inserted at tough spots. He says he’s been trying to think less:
“I just have to find the fun in basketball again,” Teletovic said recently. “Not think about it too much, and just have fun.”
“Sometimes I just start thinking too much,” Teletovic said. “I think about the mistakes I make, because I’m not a young guy and I’ve played a long time and I know basketball, so you start thinking about mistakes.”
Recently, in the Nets 101-97 win over New Orleans on Tuesday, Teletovic was inserted into the game with about 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter and pulled after about a minute. These sporadic, second half showings have been fairly common for Teletovic lately. In the Nets previous two game before the win against the Hornets, Teletovic played about 17 and 14 minutes respectively. In the game in which he totaled about 17 minutes (all in the second half) vs. Houston, he set a career high with 12 points. Even though his offense seemed to be working, it was clear he still had much work to do defensively. Following that game, he was given another opportunity vs. Memphis where he played about 14 minutes and seemingly sparked a Nets run late in the during the 4th quarter that eventually came up just short. Not only did Teletovic look like he was gaining confidence on offense, but his defense seemed leaps and bounds better than what it had been against Houston.
Tuesday’s short 4th quarter stint was a discouraging sign though. After the game, Carlesimo noted that he “didn’t like the matchup” for Teletovic with New Orleans big men Ryan Anderson and Jason Smith. If this is the case, one has to wonder why Teletovic was allowed to play vs. Memphis; a team that features two of the best big-men in the game in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. For those clamoring for more court time for Mirza (yes, that includes me), the fact that Carlesmio does not think that a player such as Jason Smith is “not a good matchup” for Teletovic does not bode well.
Even with the lack of playing time, Teletovic remains positive and notes that the biggest thing so far has just been adjustments with his role:
“I just want to play hard and help guys out and after a couple minutes you start to feel comfortable,” Teletovic said. “After not playing for five or six games, then you get in and play, it’s an adjustment.”