It's a basketball cliche to tell shooters to keep trying after a few bad shots, but that advice is actually grounded in sound reasoning. Over time, the law of averages will take over, and as long as the player takes good shots, his misses will eventually give way to makes. It's both a logical and positive outlook.
On the other hand, maybe someone should have told Brooklyn Nets big man Mirza Teletovic in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night's road game against the Detroit Pistons. In the span of just 40 seconds, Teletovic shot three consecutive airballs, each worse than the last. Check out the video above, courtesy of our friends at the Yahoo! Sports Minute.
The first shot is innocent enough — the Bosnian rookie takes a pass from C.J. Watson on a pick-and-pop and simply airballs the shot. Although he's 6-foot-9 and weighs 255 pounds, Teletovic is a good shooter, hitting 35.6 percent of his 3-point attempts on the season, which make up more than half of his total shots from the field.
The second miss is worse, but not quite beyond logic. Teletovic fields a skip pass from MarShon Brooks, dribbles left to get a step on Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko, and then tries the fallaway jumper. It's a tough jumper, and not a smart one, but it's the kind of shot that NBA players regularly make. It would also make no sense for Teletovic to forgo the shot simply because he airballed his previous attempt.
It's the third airball that really looks bad. For one thing, most players don't take three shots in 40 seconds at all — it figures that Teletovic would think it might make sense to let other players get involved in the offense even if he'd made his previous two jumpers. On top of that, this shot isn't even a good one. Teletovic has a bit of an opening to shoot over Jerebko, but he closed out well. It wasn't open by any usual definition of the term. Maybe he should have exercised a little restraint.
To add insult to injury, these three misses made up Teletovic's entire stat line for the night: in four minutes, he registered no other individual plays. However, he did finish with a +/- mark of +3, which was also the margin of victory in Brooklyn's 93-90 win. Perhaps Teletovic got the last laugh, after all.
No, wait, I'm wrong. We'll all be laughing for a while.
I'm not sure if Pistons play-by-play man George Blaha's right that three straight airballs is an NBA record — this isn't the sort of thing that Basketball-Reference.com keeps track of, after all — but in terms of volume and stakes, it's not as bad as shooting two sets of consecutive airballs in crunch-time of a deciding playoff game, as another rookie famously did nearly 16 years ago:
Maybe this will launch Teletovic into stardom. After all, things haven't turned out too badly for Kobe Bryant.
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