Everyone knows the story. Teletovic experienced shortness of breath in a January 22 game against the Clippers only to find out he had multiple blood clots in his lungs. He began treatment, was ruled out for the season but after a quicker than anticipated recovery, was cleared for basketball activities starting Friday afternoon. Now, he's probable for Wednesday's game.
The news is the latest sign that the 6'9" sharpshooter could get significant time on the court in crucial games. Billy King said in his statement Friday that Teletovic would be ruled out until further notice, but left open the possibility of "updates" to his situation. Lionel Hollins then echoed his general manger's sentiment two days ago by saying, "the guy has been out for three months and had two practices. You can't expect a guy to come out and play."
However, with Game Two not slated until Wednesday, Teletovic has had time to practice and could check in for Brooklyn's next game. If not Wednesday, it's not unreasonable to assume that Teletovic could very well return before this series ends.
So assuming Teletovic can come in --and make a statement-- relatively soon, what can he provide to the Nets? Well, he can certainly help Brooklyn's 26th-ranked 33.1% three point shooting. Teletovic shot a more than reliable 39% from deep last year and continued to drain buckets in the postseason. One of his more impressive postseason games from last year was Game Seven of the conference semifinals against the Heat where he scored 20 points, including 6-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc:
But Teletovic is more than just a sniper from deep. As I mentioned earlier this season, Teletovic's game within the arc is underrated, and his ability to score anywhere on the court makes him valuable even if his three point shot isn't falling. Take, for example, Game Five of last year's first round against the Raptors. He shot well from distance, but also provided some offense inside:
If he can get back into basketball shape, Teletovic can provide consistent offense, something Brooklyn will desperately need against a Hawks team that has run up the score quite a few times this year. He would probably play behind Thaddeus Young and would be a good fit into Brooklyn's smaller lineup. He would also replace Earl Clark, who was 1-of-6 on Sunday, on the depth chart.
What will be interesting to see if Teletovic comes back is whether or not he plays alongside Young. Remember, Teletovic was ruled out for the season a month before the Nets traded for Young. Teletovic really can't play small forward, but Young is more than capable of doing so in certain situations, so maybe Hollins will test the potential duo, a combination that would create plenty of space in the paint for Brook Lopez.
In any event, if Teletovic does in fact make it back to the hardwood this series, it's not as if he would be Brooklyn's divine intervention against Atlanta. They would still be a long shot to move on to the conference semifinals, but a healthy Teletovic certainly wouldn't hurt.
- Nets Set to Welcome Mirza Teletovic to Playoffs - Alex Raskin - Wall Street Journal
- Brooklyn Nets say Mirza Teletovic 'probable' for Game 2 vs. Hawks - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Nets' Mirza Teletovic upgraded to probable, might play in Game 2 against Hawks - Rod Boone - Newsday