Ettore Messina: “In the NBA they do not break your balls like they do in Europe”

2020-10-22T15:01:42+00:00 2020-10-22T15:01:42+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

22/Oct/20 15:01

A full understanding of both the NBA and EuroLeague brings up some interesting points shared by Ettore Messina

By Johnny Askounis/

In an effort to compare coaching duties between the NBA and Europe, AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan head coach and former San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina suggested the exterior pressure is the most significant difference between the two basketball worlds. His appearance in the latest BLOK po BLOK podcast resulted in a lengthy discussion mainly focused on the NBA and the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.

“I have to do better in terms of not carrying over a loss. I need to forget and concentrate on the next game. Honestly, I am not very good at that,” he explained noting experiences gained from the 2014 to 2019 tenure with the Spurs.

Already very successful in Europe, he was hired by the San Antonio organization in 2014 and worked alongside Gregg Popovich.

“How they handle the workload from so many games is among the things I carried over,” he said, “I probably had too many practices with tired players. I learned to avoid that at all costs. If you work with tired players you increase the chance for injury. Recovery is key.”

Spotting the key variances in the day-to-day approach, he compared prominent squad members in the NBA to respective European stars.

“The impact of those players is really important,” he said, “Coaches are evaluated on how they use the two or three players offensively, in the best possible way. It’s not the same to lose a game with your two superstars score 30 points or if they score 15. Europe is different, more like college in the USA. We have great players as well but the way the team performs is more important.”

“Defensively it’s the same,” he furthered moving on to the other end of the court, “You want your opponent to beat you without using its superstars. So, it’s not the same thing if you lose and the opponent superstars score 60 points on you or if you lose and manage to hold the stars to less what they usually do.”

The 48-minute NBA games compared to the 40-minute matches in Europe evolved to another main difference standing out for Messina.

“People have no idea how different it is coaching a game in the NBA,” he claimed, “The 48 minutes in terms of rotation of the players and how many minutes a player can stay on the court is completely different. Also, in Europe, if you are down 15 in the middle of the third quarter, most likely the game is close to an end. In the NBA, if you are down 20 in the middle of the third quarter, you still have 18 minutes to play, which is almost half the game in Europe. So, there is still a chance.”

The discussion included many more differences, but Messina managed to reach a conclusion. “In the NBA, they do not break your balls like they do in Europe with the media and the social media, that is the bottom line,” he explained.

“In the NBA, they do not face the same pressure,” he added, “They are not even close to the level of aggressiveness. That’s the same reason they go to the games and it’s more happy environment.”

Check out his full interview starting from the 13-minute mark of the following video: