Michael Scotto, SNYNets.com
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Chris Brown and Pitbull brought you the original “International Love,” but Mirza Teletovic is working on his own remix with the Brooklyn Nets. No, Teletovic isn’t recording a new sound track, but the Bosnian forward will give Brooklyn fans plenty of reasons to love the new foreign import.
Teletovic is a 6-foot-9 power forward with NBA three-point range that will stretch opposing defenses. Last season, Teletovic shot 43 percent from beyond the arc for Caja Laboral (Spain) and has continued to shoot efficiently through the start of Nets training camp.
Unlike most European big men, Teletovic is a versatile long-range shot maker. He can connect after curling off of a screen, pick-and-pop after setting a screen, or—thanks to his high release point—shoot over defenders. He’s also effective at creating space by using his jab step, as well as hitting off balance jumpers.
Teletovic primarily works around the top of the key or on either wing, beyond the arc, but he can also catch-and-shoot and convert corner pocket three-pointers as a stand still shooter.
That type of versatility will make him an asset to the Nets and should enable him to become a valuable weapon. See for yourself:
Now, although Teletovic is primarily known as a shooter, his ability to put the ball on the floor and drive into the paint can’t be overlooked. At 255 pounds, he is strong enough to dunk in traffic after blowing by a defender.
I spoke with Teletovic about adjusting to his role from being a high profile player in Europe to becoming a key reserve for the Nets.
“There’s always time to adjust to the team,” he said. “I think the most important thing to do is win. I don’t care about the individual stuff.”
Players usually say they don’t care about individual accolades, but Teletovic seems sincere. Teletovic proved his sincerity when he accept less money from the Nets than he initially agreed. General manager Billy King initially offered Teletovic the Nets’ $5 million mid-level exception—an offer Teletovic accepted—before recanting and instead asked him to accept a “mini” mid-level exception worth about $3 million. By renegotiating and agreeing to take less money, Teletovic allowed the Nets to maintain the cap flexibility that they would need in order to successfully orchestrate the sign-and-trade deal with the Los Angeles Clippers that brought Reggie Evans to Brooklyn.
According to Teletovic, helping the Nets become winners was most important. “I played in Europe for nine years professionally and I had good deals of money, so for me, it was very important to come to the NBA to a team that competes and was really serious about the things they’re trying to do,” he said. “This is a serious team whose goal is to win the championship.”
Another reason he said he felt comfortable leaving Europe for the NBA was because he would have the opportunity to play under coach Avery Johnson.
“[Johnson] is a great coach. He has a lot of experience. He played in the NBA and then he coached,” Teletovic said. “He’s a really dedicated guy and likes his job and I’m sure that he has time for everybody to try to make this a winning team.”
Teletovic and Evans will probably come off of the bench as a complimentary pair. Teletovic is a below average rebounder and not a great defender, but Evans is a rugged defender and—last season—ranked fifth in the NBA in total rebound percentage (16.72). Meanwhile, on offense, Evans’ repertoire is limited to dunking. But Teletovic’s shooting ability will draw defenders beyond the arc and help free up space for Evans in the paint.
At 27, Mirza is ready to begin his NBA career and he hopes to help the Brooklyn Nets compete for an NBA title.
Michael Scotto is an Analyst for SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter for the latest news from Brooklyn and the NBA: @MikeAScotto