By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Dusan Ivkovic opened up to a recent interview with sports.ru about the current situation in European basketball in comparison to the NBA, as well as how he views the game and the way it has changed to date.
Ivkovic, who announced his retirement in 2016 after a long and successful career, talks about the current situation in Europe with more and more players making their jump to the NBA.
“I would not say that European basketball is in crisis. But it is obvious that the NBA is so strong that it is impossible to compete with, and it collects all the best players around the world. The salary ceiling has already risen above $ 100 million” he tells.
“It seems to me that our players should go there: every club, every coach should be proud that they brought up people who play in the NBA. I trained many generations of players, and they all left – from Divac and Petrovic to Bogdanovic and Teodosic. Very happy for them. When the player is ready, let him leave for the NBA. Now very young players are leaving, who are being drafted from schools and universities”, Ivkovic mentions on the Europeans’ NBA invasion in recent years. “It is clear that it is very difficult for European clubs: their youth is leaving, and American players of a lower level are replacing them. The situation is difficult”.
However, he does not consider it a crisis as he says. “Look at the Euroleague: it is expanding, the competitions are becoming more interesting, all the halls are full. But, as a member of the FIBA technical commission, I can judge the level of the game, and it seems to me that it should be higher”.
Ivkovic started coaching back in 1968, when the game was much more different, yet he is fully supportive of the game’s growth.
“We should just accept that basketball is changing. Once I was asked about a rule change. […] And then I told them that the European players are very lazy and we need to adjust the rule of 24 seconds. I first played against the NBA team in 1988, it was the Boston Celtics with Larry Bird, Dennis Johnson, McHale and all. A very talented team, but most importantly: all our throws were made at the end of the possession. And so I suggested that the team leave their half in 8 seconds. Everyone liked this rule, and then they took it to the NBA”.
“In the 90s we had a very tight game, we scored very little, but the game depended not so much on the defense that the coaches put, but on the fact that the attack was given 30 seconds. Now the game has become much faster, more aggressive in the transition to the attack. This led to the fact that once the best coaches specializing in positional attacks, can not adapt.But what can you do, the world is changing, you need to adapt to these changes. […] Basketball can not be changed artificially, focusing solely on numbers, for example, the number of the thrown three-pointers. I like any quality basketball, no matter what era it belongs to”, adds Ivkovic.