Mirza Teletovic entered the 2014-15 season, his contract year, with the hopes of convincing teams he was worth big money. His body had other plans.
Teletovic's season was rocky even before injuries derailed his season. Known as a sharp shooter, Teletovic struggled to consistently hit baskets from beyond the arc. After shooting 39% from three the previous year, the Bosnian hit only 32.1% of his three point shots this season.
He suffered a hip pointer injury on December 8th and missed three subsequent games. Upon returning, his shooting percentage dropped significantly, suggesting a nagging injury was the reason for his shooting struggles.
Then on January 22 in a game against the Clippers, Teletovic complained of shortness of breath and shortly thereafter was diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs and was ruled out for the season. However, proving once again his toughness is vastly underrated, Teletovic worked his way back to basketball shape and returned in Game 2 against the Hawks. He didn't play much, but playing three months after being ruled out for the season was telling of Teletovic's drive and competitive spirit.
|Minutes per game||22.3|
True shooting percentage
|Win Shares per 48||.026|
The numbers suggest he had a pretty brutal year, and he did to a degree, but it wasn't all bad for Teletovic. Injuries and blood clots slowed him down considerably and though he struggled from deep, his two-point game flourished. He possesses an effective, although far from creative, dribble drive game and consistenly got to the rim this season. Thanks to his high BBIQ, Teletovic was able to get easy buckets when his long range game was off by cutting to the basket without the ball and finding the open pockets in the defense.
Teletovic's three year/ $9.7 million contract expires this season, but Billy King already expressed that the Nets would be extending him a $4.2 million qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent. Any deal that any other team proposes, the Nets have the right to match that offer.
Teletovic expressed his desire to stay in Brooklyn on Friday:
"I like Brooklyn, people are great, I know the team and everyone, especially doctors, treated me great when all that happened. I really would like to stay in Brooklyn. I know my teammates and everything is really great. I do not know what will be, but I'll know more in June when free agent market starts."
Is this even a question? Blood clots are a very serious issue and can very realistically be fatal. Teletovic simply getting healthy and ridding his body of the clots was cause enough to be thrilled. He then defied doctors' predictions and appeared in three games of the playoffs. That was pretty cool.
Re-discover his old shooting stroke and improve his defending.
Teletovic was able to score this year, but his bread and butter is his three-point shot. He's at his best when he's draining shots from beyond the arc and the Nets would take an improved three-point shot over a more diversified two-point game. At the end of the day, the Nets signed him to hit threes.
As has always been the case with Teletovic, his defense is, to be kind, porous. Standing at 6'9", 256 pounds at the power forward position, he often gets bullied by the bigger forwards of the game. When he defends a stretch-four or a wing, he's neither athletic nor quick enough to stay in front of them. He doesn't need to become Ben Wallace, but he needs to clean it up to the point he's competent defensively.
Here's highlights from his best game this season; a 25 point, 15 rebound effort against the Spurs on December 3. He was 9-of-13 from the field, including 5-of-7 from deep.
IN THE FUTURE
His future with the Nets remains uncertain, but if he does return to Brooklyn, he will be an important cog in Lionel Hollins' rotation. If Thaddeus Young is in a Nets jersey next year, Teletovic will likely serve as Young's backup and should be a formidable scoring threat off the bench. If Young walks, Teletovic could see an elevated role; a potential starting role.
It was a tough year for Mirza. Injuries derailed his season and this grade is indicative of that fact. This was a year the Nets would have liked to see Teletovic take more strides, but it didn't work out that way. Teletovic is a better player than what he showed this season and should rebound next season no matter where he ends up.