When talking European players, the general theory is that there is an adjustment grace period.
Year one is typically a mess. It’s a different game, a different country, and adjustments are needed before the player can transform into Dirk Nowitzki. But year two, that’s when expectations will be met or fall short.
If anyone knows this, it’s Mirza Teletovic.
After agreeing to a three-year, nine-million dollar contract with the Nets, the Bosnian was generally was seen as a disappointment by Nets fans. Many pegged him to be a potential starter before the season started, and certainly expected him to play more and shoot better than he did.
In his 53 games last year, Teletovic averaged 9.4 minutes and 3.5 points. The supposed three-point specialist only shot 34% from behind the arc.
“It’s true,” said Teletovic of the year one adjustment. “For me, this year, it’s 80% easier than it was last year. It’s just different terminology, the way of basketball, the way of life, the way of travel. It’s just a big difference compared to Europe.”
Head coach Jason Kidd has also seen the improvements in Teletovic, and has high hopes that he can become the three-point threat the Nets signed him to be.
“Mirza is shooting the ball well here,” said Kidd. “We know that he can do that, and we’ve got to make sure we can get him on the defensive end to help. He’s learning our concepts. It’s a little bit different than something he’s probably used to, but he’s giving the effort. As a coach, but also as a teammate, those guys want to see that effort. He’s doing that.”
For those who have never seen European basketball, Teletovic was able to give a little insight into what makes it such a different game.
“(The NBA) is a lot more games in a short, short period,” said Teletovic. “It’s a lot more running around at a faster pace. It’s aggressive, there’s more one on one, you are more responsible. You have to help everybody out. It’s a different way of playing.”
Teletovic also stated that having experienced veterans like Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez on the team also makes the transition much simpler.
“They really talk to you,” said Teletovic. “They talk and you listen to them and you know what to do. They make it easy for you.”