By Stefan Djordjevic / firstname.lastname@example.org
Zvezdan Mitrovic had a good run results-wise while coaching ASVEL for almost two years but he got sacked by the club and as it turned out, his style of coaching, behavior and decisions didn’t sit well with the organization.
While the sides will settle their differences at the French court, the club president Tony Parker revealed one of the issues that seemed to have broken the relationship. It was Mitrovic’s decision-making regarding the young prospect in Theo Maledon.
In fact, Tony Parker directly blames coach Mitrovic for not using Maledon enough on the court which is in his opinion the main reason for the youngster’s fall in the 2020 NBA ranking, getting picked up in the second round as the 34th overall pick.
“He clearly ‘killed’ Theo Maledon. Theo and his family resent him. He put him under the extinguisher for a lot of games where NBA GMs were there and left before the end after coming from the other side of the world to see Theo. At that time, Theo’s rating was in the top 10, like Killian Hayes and it is not normal that a player like that is not drafted in the first round,” Parker told L’Equipe and added.
“He never played him last year. The way he treated him, it cost him a place in the first round. A player like that should have been in the top 10. I told him he had to be played and to respect the club’s plans.”
Whether Maledon’s rating would have stayed among the top 10 or not had the coach played him more, we’ll never know, however, the fact is that Maledon got drafted even lower than the majority of Mocks predicted he would, moments before the Draft.
From a ‘certain’ first-round choice in the 20s to the early second-round pick. Maledon himself admitted that he’s been disappointed by the development and while he didn’t ‘double down’ on Tony Parker’s words about Mitrovic, the new Oklahoma City Thunder guard didn’t deny it either.
“Yeah, still, I’m not going to hide it. As a competitor, I always try to be in the best position. Of course, there is a little disappointment,” he told RMC Sport. “I understand. The people who were at ASVEL, I think they also understand what he is saying. After that, I don’t think it’s something that needs to be leaked. Everyone knows what happened.”