By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Barcelona head coach Svetislav Pesic made a sort of comparison between European hoops and the NBA, characterizing the game that is played in the latter as “not basketball.”
“In basketball, if you want to change rhythm, to play transition or position, you cannot change rhythm on offense, but on defense. Then you can take initiative on offense and play fast break, controlled basketball or long plays. That’s how it’s done in Europe. It’s not like the NBA which is not basketball,” Pesic said in the post-game presser following the road win of Barcelona over Olimpia Milano. The Serbian coach had been asked if the game plan for the Blaugrana was to reduce the number of Milano‘s fast-paced offenses.
Pesic proceeded to describe EuroLeague as the competition that has “the best basketball in the world today” while commenting on the often high-scoring NBA results in mocking undertone.
“Every night or morning if you see the NBA results, it’s 129-119, or 122-120, 120-115 etc. Everybody celebrates, everybody is happy. Anyway. The best basketball in the world today is in EuroLeague,” Pesic added.
“In Euroleague, you can see everything,” Pesic explained. “You can see defense, you can see offense, you can see tactics, 3-pointers dunking, creation of the game. Everything. What we didn’t have in Europe until now is that we didn’t ‘sell’ our basketball very good, like in the NBA. We didn’t learn how to sell our product in Europe.”
A few months ago, Pesic had mentioned that he considers the EuroLeague regular season games to be “like the NBA playoffs.”
Pesic, 69, has been a coach since 1982. Throughout his career, he’s won numerous titles and medals in domestic, European and global competitions, at club and national team level.
In the 2002 World Cup, Pesic and the then Serbia and Montenegro national team (featuring former NBAers Vladimir Divac and Peja Stojakovic among others) beat Team USA 81 – 78 in the quarterfinals en route to winning the title.