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We’ll miss ya, Mirza — Nets coach plotting Humphries return

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Why change a good thing? That’s what Nets fans must be asking after coach P.J. “Peej” Carlesimo, ever the tinkerer, said he hopes to get the underwhelming Kris Humphries back into the lineup “sooner rather than later” — despite the team’s 5–2 run after pulling the highly paid forward for back-up Mirza Teletovic.

As the Nets bump up against the Knicks for the Atlantic Division lead — and as the team begins a brutal eight-game road trip — there’s no question that this is the time when Brooklyn must play its best ball.

Which is exactly what the Nets haven’t done with Humphries in the 10-man rotation.

Ending the Teletovic experiment now will prevent it from truly flourishing.

The Bosnian big man hasn’t shot the ball particularly well since taking over Humphries’ minutes, sinking only 36 percent on 12 of 33 from the floor. But as this column argued last week, Teletovic is known around the league as a sharpshooter, earning the respect of defenses and helping spread the floor.

That leads to more open looks for point guard Deron Williams, who has certainly benefited from Teletovic’s upped playing time.

Sure, he could shoot better and is guilty of occasionally porous defense, but results are results and the Nets have been winning since he took on the added responsibility.

With his $24-million contract and household name, it makes sense the Nets want to get Humphries back on the floor. But if it wasn’t working before, what’s to say reverting back to the norm will work now?

Tom Lafe is a 6-foot-5 sports-world insider with a middling high school basketball career who believes the Nets will be driven by the success of the team’s big men.

Updated 10:09 pm, July 9, 2018
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