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Pesic talked to the Spanish newspaper “Mundo Deportivo” and for the first time, a coach of his status talked about the fact that the NBA impact is Europe is no longer beneficial. Pesic, who led Serbia to the World Championship title in 2002 and has also won the EuroLeague with Barcelona, believes that the NBA “invasion” overshadows everything else in European basketball, especially in the case of young players.
“Every day the influence becomes greater,” said Barça’s coach, “we, in Europe, with our FIBA standards, we do not have to forget that our basketball has won a lot, has results, tradition, players, and coaches that have improved the development of global basketball. I, as a basketball person, start thinking that we have many problems with this influence, which is not only in basketball. There are positive things, but also negative things and we automatically accept things that are not good. For example, we have changed the way we train, the way we play, everyone talks about the draft in June when the playoffs are being played throughout Europe. We talk about what will be the first round or second round, but we do not know talk about European basketball“.
Pesic also talked about the wish of young players to go the NBA. “Every day I speak with (ed.note: Barcelona’s head of the basketball section) Nacho Rodríguez and there was a time I said ‘look, Barcelona basketball is a section of FC Barcelona, but not a section of the NBA’. For example, you put your chips to Mario Hezonja, but everyone knows that Hezonja is going to use Barça to go to the NBA. It is not something that happens only to Barça, it also happens to other teams. At Bayer Munich, we had Paul Zipser, who came out in the second round of the draft and he is in the NBA now. Naturally, he does not play, but he’s in the NBA“.
According to Pesic, the NBA has broken the old development cycle of European players: “Life changes and you have to adapt, but that is my opinion. In my time the objective was to play in Partizan or in the Red Star and then in the national team. When I started as a coach the goals were Partizan, Jugoplastika, Cibona, then the national team and then go to Spain or Italy. Kukoc, Divac, Radja, they all did it that way. Sabonis, Marciulionis, Pau Gasol, they all won first here and they became NBA stars. Now there is a new situation. The United States has no players, this is something definitive. The NCAA was producing players for the NBA, but they do not produce them now, because colleges are forced to earn money from sponsors. Everything now in the universities depends on the results and when it depends on the results, it is very difficult to produce players. ”
The bottom line is simple according to Pesic, in order for the European basketball to remain strong: “The first is that we have to improve some rules, which is something that has already been done. And the second is the competition system. The Euroleague will expand to 18 teams. I believe that in Europe we have at least 24 teams that can compete in the Euroleague. Obviously, not everyone can play, but they can compete. But 18 teams, plus 34 Liga Endesa’s games for the Spanish teams…
For Fenerbahce‘s coach Zeljko Obradovic it’s not a problem, because he has one team for the Euroleague and one for the Turkish league. For Olympiacos and Panathinaikos it is not a problem, because they do not play in their league against other strong teams. For Zalgiris, it is not a problem either, because in theirs they only have two difficult games against Lietuvos Rytas, but now Rytas has no money and it’s weaker. In Spain, we have to beat tough opponents. Andorra has prevailed against all the Spanish Euroleague teams . For the Spanish teams that play in the Euroleague, it is very complicated.
The question I ask myself is where I will be able to produce players if I do not have a good national league, with money, a good competition system, with sponsors. The Euroleague is important, as are the Eurocup or the Basketball Champions League, but we can not forget the fundamentals of national leagues. However, it is difficult to think about a future if different organizations do not agree … This is a big problem. Both FIBA and the Euroleague they have to remember that they have a great responsibility for the future of basketball. Now we do not have the situation that we need… but what do I know, I am just a coach“.