Jim Mancari, SNYNets.com
NEW YORK, N.Y. — The Brooklyn Nets made an interesting statement when the team signed 6'9" Bosnian forward Mirza Teletovic to a three-year, $9 million contract following this year’s NBA Draft.Teletovic had been dubbed “the best player in Europe,” but still, to take a chance with that sort of contract with a relative unknown is quite a gamble.
But luckily for both the Nets and the 27-year-old Teletovic, the team appears content with being very patient in his development. And if his first preseason game is any indicator, he will definitely need them to be patient.
Teletovic has gained the reputation of being a deadly three-point shooter, but he was way off from the outside in Saturday’s 108-105 Nets overtime victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Atlantic City, N.J. He connected on just two of 11 attempts from downtown. In total, he shot 2-of-13 from the field for six points.
Let’s all just take a moment to analyze this for a second. Teletovic was not brought in here to be the prolific scorer he was in Europe. In fact, there’s no way he’ll even crack the starting lineup on this team, with Gerald Wallace firmly entrenched in the small forward role.
The goal here is for Teletovic to become a viable source of offensive production off the bench in Brooklyn. Between him and MarShon Brooks, the Nets’ bench should be able to continue scoring even when the starters take a rest.
It was almost expected that Teletovic would be a little off in his first NBA game for a new team, albeit a preseason game. Hopefully, with each game, he’ll shake off the jitters and get to the point where he feels comfortable with his role coming off the bench.
After the game, Nets head coach Avery Johnson said he’s fine with Teletovic taking this many shots because he’s confident that his backup forward can knock down three-pointers in succession. If so, he’ll provide with Nets with instant offense off the bench.
In his short time on American soil, Teletovic has been compared to Denver Nuggets’ small forward and former New York Knick Danilo Ganillari. They are similar in stature, though Teletovic is 30 pounds heavier than Ganillari.
Ganillari began his career in New York as a reserve player before becoming an NBA starter with the Knicks. For his career, Ganillari has shot 36.8 percent from beyond the arc. The Nets would be thrilled if Teletovic can provide a similar output.
With Anthony Morrow’s inclusion in the Joe Johnson trade, the Nets lost their primary three-point shooter off the bench. Bench scoring can often determine the outcome of a game, so having the option of Teletovic gives the Nets a potential replacement to Morrow’s scoring ability.
As the preseason continues, look for Teletovic to settle into his new role. However, if the adjustment process takes longer than anticipated, Teletovic may receive the negative connotation of being one of the league’s highest paid yet unproductive bench players.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.