Years Pro: 1
Hometown: Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Prior to NBA: Caja Laboral Vitoria
I wish Mirza Teletovic was better. He fits such a perfect mold: a big forward who can shoot the lights out from all over the three-point line, a relentless gunner that can change the game with his shooting. Indeed, he can change the game with that shooting — it’s just usually, and unfortunately, in the opposite direction.
He’s the exact type of player that could get Barclays Center rocking. If he hits two, three, four three-pointers in a row, the place could explode. But that never happened: Teletovic didn’t make three straight three-pointers in any one game all season in 2012-13. (He made four in a row in April, but that was spread over three games.) He had a longer streak of airballs in a game last season than three-pointers made.
Teletovic struggled to get into a rhythm all season. Amid cries of #FreeMirza and #MT3 and #Fearza, Teletovic rarely went on hot streaks. Below is a chart that attempts to quantify that; the line details his three-point percentage on his last ten three-pointers at the time of that shot. As you’ll see, he only peaked a few times, and his line usually stays below 0.4, meaning he only had a couple of moments last season where he “caught fire.” Not nearly as much as you’d hope from a three-point marksman.
Still, Teletovic is fun. He catches-and-shoots like he’s allergic to orange. He’s in a perpetual game of hot potato with leather. (I didn’t say “hot leather” because I don’t want to show up in those search results.)
Though Teletovic never spoke out, the excuses for him piled up in my Twitter mentions and comments last season: the Nets didn’t involve him in the offense (despite shooting a team-high 7.8 three-pointers per 36 minutes), he didn’t get a chance to play serious minutes (he did, and didn’t separate himself), he didn’t have time to get acclimated in the rotation (which wasn’t an issue for anyone else).
There’s still hope. Teletovic came into camp acknowledging he was out of shape last year, hindering his ability to shoot the NBA three. The Nets want him to succeed, and they’ll give him a shot in the rotation as Andrei Kirilenko’s right-hand forward (neither is really a small forward or power forward).
Teletovic did shoot well in one preseason game, hitting five three-pointers against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Nets don’t have any other bigs that can shoot three-pointers well (sorry, Andray). If he can carry that over to the regular season, he could be a real asset. Unlike Mirza catching a pass, all we can do is wait and see.
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| Shaun Livingston | Deron Williams | Tyshawn Taylor | Alan Anderson | Joe Johnson | Jason Terry | Andrei Kirilenko | Paul Pierce | Tornike Shengelia | Reggie Evans | Kevin Garnett | Mirza Teletovic | Andray Blatche | Brook Lopez | Mason Plumlee |