Mirza Teletovic: Teammates helped me through "transition"

USA TODAY Sports

Oh, how things have changed. It was only a couple of weeks ago that Mirza Teletovic was seen as an after-thought, if not worse, Now, he's part of the Nets rotation, becoming a fan favorite and getting interviewed on sports radio. In discussing the change with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts, Mirza Teletovic says it was his teammates who gave him confidence during the time when he wasn't getting minutes under Avery Johnson.

"From Gerald Wallace, from Keith Bogans, from Reggie Evans, guys who've played many, many years in the NBA," Teletovic told the WFAN duo. "They always talk to you and tell you to be ready and you know I showed so many times in practice what I can do and they told me once you get in there on the court just do the same thing on the court that you do in practice and you'll be okay."

It was the most passionate the soft-spoken 27-year-old got during the eight-minute interview. He was diplomatic when asked why the team is winning more under Carlesimo than it had under Johnson. "It's kind of a difficult question," he said, then added that under Carlesimo, "Everybody just plays with more confidence, everybody's clicking very good on the court. And when that comes up, you win games."

Teletovic admitted the transition was tough and that the speed of the NBA game is the biggest difference between the Euroleague and NBA and that he had spoken to other Europeans before arriving in the U.S. in September. He also said his teammate, Toko Shengelia, will prove himself "a very good player," when he gets minutes.

Here's the transcript...

On Avery vs. P.J.

It's a kind of difficult question. When P.J. came on, I know what he did towards me. He t came to me, talked to me and told me to be ready every time. when the game is coming and he calls my name, tells me to just go in there and play hard. I think that's what he did for all of the guys. Everybody just plays with more confidence, everybody clicking very good on the court. And when that comes up, you win games.

On coming to America

Coming over here i knew it wouldnt be easy. I played in Europe almost 10 seasons straight professional basketball. when i got over here, i talked ot a lot of european players who have come to the NBA and they told me just to have patience. Everybody had difficulties in the first year but I wasnt feeling ready to play the game. It takes you a couple of months just to pick up the rules of the team defensively and offensively. I think once time passed, when I get into the game, i know what I have to do to help the team out.

On getting opportunities

It feels great. I'm glad I just can come out and every time the guys need me, I can help out. Not only on offense but on defense also. i think its important because Deron and Joe and Brook and other guys have played a lot of minutes and once we come from the bench, we have to give them more energy because they get tired and I'm glad I can help them out.

On differences between European and NBA basketball

The NBA game is much faster and guys are more physical. You have a lot of guys in one place who have talent. You have To be aware and play hard and defend hard because its a physical game.

On Joe Johnson

Joe is really ready to play against them because everybody when they play the team they played for because they have really want to play against that team, they really want to win against that team. He's ready to show to them that he's the ... Joe Johnson, he's a great guy, he's a great basketball player, a great teammate. He's going to show to everybody why he's one of the best players in the NBA.

On his role going forward

I think (I'm in the rotation). It always Depends game to game. We have a lot of good players on this team. Reggie's unbelievable defensively, rebounding, he's unbelievable. Andray Blatche is great. In both aspects, he's a great player. So we have a lot of players who are coming from the bench so we're just waiting for P.J., whoever he calls to help the team.

On Brook Lopez

Brook reminds me of a lot of European big guys. He has a lot of talent. He has a lot of great moves. He can work right or left, he can shoot. The guy has everything. His game is complete. He is getting better this year like blocking shots, getting rebounds. He's been very, very huge for this team and I think he's one of the big reasons we are doing so well.

On encouragement from his teammates

When you have so many great guys on the team --deron is a very good guy-- from gerald wallace, from keith bogans, from Reggie Evans, guys who've played many, many years in the NBA, They always talk to you and tell you to be ready and you know I showed so many times in practice what I can do and they told me once you get in there on the court just do the same thing on the court that you do in practice and you'll be okay.

On his friendship with Toko Shengelia

Toko and me have a lot of similarities. He played in Spain like me. This summer, we plaued against the Georgia national team where Toko plays and I talked to him before (the game) and I also talked to Zaza Pachulia, his teammate. Toko's a great guy. He helps me a lot. Somebody coming from the same side I'm coming from, making the transition from Europe to here and I think with time, Toko is also going to show also that he's a very good player.

On Brooklyn, Barclays Center and the fans

It's unbelievable. The Barclays Center is an unbelievable structure. They just made a great arena. Brooklyn fans are unbelievable. They are like the sixth man out there. They come every night and try to help the team out. They always support. Even when things go wrong, they cheer and try to help the team get their team to get the next win.

  • Mirza Teletovic Interview (Audio) - Joe Benigno & Evan Roberts - WFAN
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