By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Pesic talked to Sportklub.rs and he has an explanation that seems logical on the issue of players skipping the tournament.
“The reasons for not participating can be objective, injuries, and can be subjective”, said the veteran coach. “Just look at the last few Eurobaskets. More and more players are not playing and I will tell you why. It would all be a lot easier if the Eurobasket was held at the end of June and at the beginning of July, that would make the competition better and everyone would be more motivated, including NBA players”.
While this scheduling may create new issues, Pesic believes that things are going to be easier: “It is hard not to be with your club until 18th of September. Some players do have guaranteed contracts, but a lot of them have to fight for their status, so there is a reasonable amount of fear. ‘What will happen if I come to the club a week before the season starts?’ These are problems people don’t talk about quite often and I’ve had those experiences, believe me. It is true that the season is long, but maybe just 15-20% of the players finishes it around the first half of June. Most of them finish their season one month earlier. Secondly, players like to finish everything in the first ten days of July, so they can rest, be with their families, have a holiday and think about their clubs. Also, it would be better for the clubs and the agents, because they would be able to see the players before the season at the Eurobasket and the players would be more motivated because they would have to sign contracts for the next season. I expect FIBA to change that for Eurobasket 2021”.
Speaking about the Serbian national team, Pesic expects Bogdan Bogdanovic to step up: “The absences of Teodosic, Jokic and the rest is a big handicap, but it has happened in the past. I think some of the other guys have to step up. They all have to take responsibility with Bogdanovic being at the helm. He has made tremendous progress and I think signing an NBA contract has given him some extra confidence as well. He was never afraid to take matters into his own hands, even when he was a lot younger in Partizan. For a long time he has been a really talented player, but now he is experienced and has shown to everybody that he is a winner. Although he is in an age where he can still develop, Bogdan is a man who can take the weight of wins and losses”.
Pesic also gave his predictions about the tournament, speaking about the teams which have high goals: “I do not think Spain is the biggest favorite – we all respect them, the have the quality to take the gold, but in the last few competitions they have not been very convincing. They start slow and then it’s like they press the button and say: ‘OK, let’s play serious now’. They manage to turn the tide thanks to Gasol’s individual quality, but it is a risky approach and it can’t last forever.
Still, according to Pesic Spain and Serbia will fight for the gold: “Spain and Serbia have the biggest chances in my opinion, then comes Lithuania because of their defense, team attitude and continuity. Lithuanians identify with their national team and that always gives them extra quality. I don’t think France can win a medal although they have good players, and the same goes for Turkey – yes, they are hosts, but I just don’t think they are good enough”.
The other teams which can do damage according to Pesic are Croatia, Greece and Montenegro, which can be considered a dark horse: “Croatia has a lot of confidence after beating Italy in the Olympics qualfiers and played a decent tournament in Rio. They are not as deep as Serbia, but they are motivated to finally do something meaningful. Saric has a big heart and acts like a leader, while Bojan Bogdanovic is a hell of a player, great shooter. Everyone should be careful with them. Don’t underestimate Greece, they have some top Euroleague players and know each other really well. Also, Montenegro has great players in the paint with Vucevic and Dubljevic, but a lot of will depend on Rice – he does not seem healthy 100% at the moment and he needs a bit of stiring through the game by his coach. I am sure Bosa (Tanjevic) will fix him all right and that he will contribute a lot if he is fit”.