By Niki Bakouli/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The head of international scouting at Dallas Mavericks is a guy who knows really well the Greek reality. After all, he served as the assistant coach of Jonas Kazlauskas, when the CSKA’ boss was on the bench of Olympiacos.
Alvydas Pazdrazdis is in Istanbul in order to attend the Nike’s International Junior Tournament and he watched the next generation of BC Crvena Zvezda, Anadolu Efes, Lietuvos Rytas, FC Barcelona Regal, KK Zagreb, Zalgiris Kaunas and Fenerbahce Ulker.
In his busy schedule he found time to talk to Eurohoops.net, first of all about the elimination of Dallas, at the first round of the playoffs. They were actually the first defending Champions that went down like that and Pazdrazdis explains: “It was a difficult season for a veteran team like the one we have. The schedule was compressed, it was crazy, suicidal, we had no time to recover, to practice. And the guys from Oklahoma City are young…It took a lot of time to get it done. We were like an airplane ready to take-off from the runaway. And we needed many meters on this runaway to… get up in the air. We were also unfortunate. At the first two games, we lost to 1 and 3 points, then we came back home and then we also lost a close game… We could have done it much better, with a better start”.
When Dallas reached the playoffs, they were pretty much exhausted. Dirk Nowitzki, the leader of last year’s championship team had no energy left in him. “Dirk is an unbelievable player and an amazing guy, who really cares for the team. But, he needs good players around him. When every defense is scheduled… to shut you down, you need others to take the shots, to take the advantage of this situation”. And they didn’t have that luxury. “Not, like last year”.
And there was also the case with Lamar Odom. The truth is we don’t remember any other player moving to one team and leaving before the end of the season for any other reason than a trade. “You are right. It’s not a common thing. I really don’t remember anything like it. Lamar didn’t fit it. I guess he was home sick” and he left Mavericks with -1 player.
Anyway, that was… then. What we have for now and the future? “After the end of the season, we left Dallas to clear our minds and we are going to be back, some time soon, to discuss all about next season and how we will improve our team. My job is to present all the information I have and let the owner to decide”.
When we reached to the point to talk about the owners, of course we didn’t lose the opportunity to ask about Mark Cuban. “He is a basketball fanatic, as every owner should be. He is like the owners, in Greece, like Giannakopoulos brothers and Aggelopoulos brothers, who want to win in every game and they support the teams, always –at home court and away games. As our coach once said “my job is easy, cause the owner is always behind our bench and our players have no other choice than… to play good””. And no, we don’t remember any other owner sitting behind the bench, at the NBA.
Finally, Mavs have Nick Calathes’ rights for the NBA “and we would love to see him, when his contract with Panathinaikos is over. That’s when he will be able to come to our summer league and we will have the opportunity to see him playing, over there. I believe he can adapt to our system. He is a good player, from who you don’t expect to score a lot of points, but you can be sure he will take care all the other things, always for the best interest of your team. He plays for the team and he does everything for his team to win”. Calathes contract with Panathinaikos expires this summer…