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Was Popovich talking about the Nets and Teletovic when he criticized a team for mishandling a "foreign kid?"

When airballs don't really matter in the larger scheme of things


It passed unnoticed last week when Gregg Popovich, talking about the value of international players in the Spurs system, told Jeff MacDonald of the San Antonio Express News the following...

"I won’t mention the team, but a team we played this season … there was a foreign kid on there and the kid was open all the time. He was out there wondering, ‘What the…? I can’t get the ball?’ You’d see that look on his face five times during the game. While an American kid is dribbling in place, holding the ball. The guy played on a good team overseas, in a good program. He came over … [In Europe], he gets the ball and shoots it. Now, it doesn’t come."

Mirza Teletovic played 10 minutes in the Spurs blowout of the Nets, took one shot, a three, and missed it. Popovich was almost certainly talking about the Nets and Teletovic, say multiple sources. Pop's point, of course, was that the team was not making good use of a good player who was raised in a different system.

Despite his three-airball performance vs the Pistons, there's confidence throughout the organization that Teletovic will ultimately be used properly. Unlike Reggie Evans and Kris Humphries, he changes the dynamics on what is on the floor and spaces it.

Popovich was interviewed about how he likes international players because they're about team rather than individual play. With the signing of Aron Baynes last week, nine of the 15 players on the Spurs were born overseas, an NBA record. Of the six Americans on the roster, four played overseas at one point or another in their career.

Popovich will be in Brooklyn Sunday.