In what comes as a bit of surprise, Brooklyn Nets rookie reserve forward Mirza Teletovic is inactive for the first time this season, and will be in street clothes for Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
"It's tough, but you know everybody can't get minutes," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "When you have a team like our team, who's he going to play in front of right now? He can't beat out (Kris) Humphries or Reggie (Evans).”
Teletovic, 27, signed a three-year contract worth about $9.7 million with the Nets in the offseason, but has had trouble getting on the court. He’s averaged 9.5 minutes in four games. The European import, known for his long-range marksmanship, is shooting just 33.3 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from 3-point territory.
“I just think in his case as I talked to him about this situation, he’s gonna have an impact on our season at some point,” Johnson said. “We’ve got 72 more games to go, and you never know how things can change.”
Teletovic was very diplomatic when asked about being inactive in the locker room.
"I'm 27. I’ve played a lot of basketball and have a lot of experience," Teletovic said. "I know that you just have to stay patient and wait for your moment. You just have to show to the coaches that you deserve it."
Does he believe he deserves more playing time?
"No. I think that this is coach's decision. It depends on what he sees on the floor and what he sees at practice. He gives you the time, if you deserve it you deserve it, if not, you don’t," Teletovic said.
"I’m a very competitive guy, I love challenges, and this is a challenge. I will overcome it."
Teletovic said he’s been in this position before when he was playing overseas in Spain and eventually earned playing time.
He said Johnson told him to "be professional, and just keep working."