Is it #FreeMirza Time?

Speaking with reporters, Brooklyn Nets head coach P.J. Carlesimo thoroughly addressed his thoughts on the Nets European power forward, Mirza Teletovic.

As mentioned yesterday, from a story in the NY Post, Teletovic has yet to see much action this season. He is averaging a mere 8 MPG on the season (9 MPG under Carlesimo, 6 MPG under former head coach, Avery Johnson). Carlesimo also admitted that the spots in which Mirza has been inserted into the game have been tough ones.

Today, Carlesimo elaborated heavily on why the lack of minutes for Teletovic and what needs to happen in the future. Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News sums up Carlesimo’s quotes as well as offers some analysis in his roundup story.

“I’d like to have had (a consistent rotation) two months ago,” Carlesimo said. “But Mirza is going to be the priority going forward. These next two games (against Dallas and Chicago) might not be ideal for Mirza.

“Hump did a pretty good on Dirk last year. I don’t think Dirk is a guy you stop, but Hump is good. I think we need our size on Dirk and I think we need our size clearly tomorrow in Chicago because they’re so big and physical. But we have to carve out time for Mirza, just carve out some time and look at him a little while and then figure out the rotation after that.

Carlesimo extended his thoughts even more on how he thinks the process of evaluating Mirza will begin:

“I think it’s a two-part process. 1) figure out how to get time for him on a regular basis, and 2) make a decision. At some point, as we get into it later in March, we have start saying, “Alright, this has to be our rotation.” I still think even if we were a lot more solid with our rotation, it’s still going to change given matchups. We’re so different if Mirza plays or Hump plays or Reggie plays, and even up front, if we need offense – do we need more Keith Bogans? Or defense off the bench? Or if it’s a small team, do we need more CJ, perhaps more Deron? I think the fact that we  have  a bunch of different pieces is a plus for us, especially when we get in the playoffs, maybe guys who would get a lot more time against one team, and a lot less time if we play somebody else. You can say this is a team we can play big against a lot or this is a team we’re going to have our small backcourt cause they have two little guards. So I think that’s a plus. It’s not a plus that we still haven’t sorted Mirza out. To me, he’s still the biggest piece that we have to address.”

As Carlesimo says, Mirza is “still the biggest piece that we have to address.” One has to wonder why though, has it taken so long to get an evaluation on such a highly touted European star. Carlesimo thinks it’s a matchup thing:

“It’s just the matchup. He’s a mismatch guy at 4,” Carlesimo said. “The same problem he causes for other teams they can cause for him depending on how they play. If they don’t have a stretch 4 on the floor it’s a question of is their big strong guy going to overpower him, and can we keep him off the glass. Can we stop his postups? Or, can that guy cover Mirza on the open floor? I think he’s going to be a mismatch guy. Clearly we’re not a big, physical rebounding team when he’s on the floor, whereas you put a combination of Reggie/Hump and Andray/Brook on the floor, that’s what we are. We’re big. We’re a big and physical team that hopefully can rebound and defend inside.”

Even though Carlesimo believes its purely an issue of matchups, and clearly hinted that when Mirza is on the floor, defense is the biggest concern, many can make the argument that the same can be said about Reggie Evans on the offensive side of the ball. As we have seen recently in the month of February, opposing teams have clearly been sagging off of Evans and forcing the ball out of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson or Brook Lopez’s hands in hopes that they eventually pass to the severely limited offensive talent, Evans. Does Carlesimo think that Teletovic’s defense is worse than Reggie Evan’s offense? It’s a question that must be begged.

The Nets lack a multi-dimmensional starting PF, but according to Bondy, higher-ups in the Nets organization are putting the pressure on Carlesimo to play the Bosnian star more minutes. He says that these higher-ups believe in his game and his European resume.