By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite the critical voices that always accompany him, Ergin Ataman’s value as a coach in the Euroleague has grown dramatically. Not surprisingly, he is the coach of the current European champion and one of the main architects of the success of Anadolu Efes. The Turkish coach himself is aware that he has changed the course of the club, as he acknowledges in an interview with Piti Hurtado on DAZN.
“I am very proud because, in the last three years, I have changed the destiny of the Turkish league,” explains Ataman. “Before me, Fenerbahce always won the title. Since I arrived at Efes, they have not won any. “
Efes collects much of its success in recent years, but not long ago they were the worst team in the Euroleague: “We made this team three years ago and were the last team in Euroleague. We changed the whole team and built good chemistry. Three years ago, our budget was 10 million euros. Now, with the same players, it is 20 million. Everyone has improved.”
This increase in the value has also translated into better contracts, such as that of Vasilije Micic. The Serbian point guard won all the collective and individual awards last season and, when it seemed that his destiny would be the NBA, he decided to renew: “I was the only one who believed that Micic was going to stay in the team. He had that hunch and eventually, he stayed. Obviously, there were offers from the NBA and Oklahoma has his rights, but neither offered him to be the main player. In Europe, he is the MVP, so great offers arrived. Efes is a great club and made a great sacrifice to renew. It is not a secret. Micic arrived three years ago for $500,000 and now has a 3 million dollar contract… It’s a lot of money, but he deserves it.”
Micic, along with Shane Larkin, is the best point guard couple in the competition and Ataman believes that the Turkish nationalized player will once again dazzle as he did two years ago: “I am optimistic about Larkin. Last year he had a lot of physical problems, but this year I hope he plays like he did two years ago, when he was the true MVP of the 2019-20 season.”
But Efes not only has figures on the court but also off it. Ataman’s son, barely 11 years old, always accompanies the team. During the celebration of the Euroleague title, in fact, he was one of the big stars of the celebration:
“My son is involved in the team, he is one more member. Not only does he travel, he is in training, he talks to the players. In all this time he has been watching the last three Real Madrid games and he has done three or four scouting pages for me. Is incredible. He likes basketball too much and I think he will become the youngest coach in the future. He was in the Final Four in Cologne. It was not allowed that minors were by German law, but he found a way to be even on the court.”
— J.R. (@JaviRoloj) January 10, 2020
Ergin Ataman also spoke about Efes’ ability to compete against an NBA team, even challenging the champion, before criticizing the departure of players to the United States. The Turkish coach gave as an example the flight of stars that Real Madrid suffered last season.
“Let’s play! A match between the Euroleague champion and the NBA champion. We are ready, let’s do it. Everyone talks about it, it’s time,” Ataman said with a smile. “The ‘show business’ in the NBA is very high. I hope that in the future the Euroleague will also reach that level because I think it is a big mistake that some important players go from European teams to the NBA during the season. For me, it is unacceptable. For the market and the prestige of Euroleague, what happened last season with Real Madrid is unacceptable.”
🗣 “Es un gran error que algunos jugadores importantes en Europa se vayan a la NBA durante la temporada”
— DAZN España (@DAZN_ES) October 7, 2021