By Panos Katsiroumpas/ email@example.com
This is a fair reward for the Serb, who, in recent years, has been one of the best players overall and definitely the most flamboyant player in Europe, in the department of creation. He has won everything in the old continent by now, even though the number of trophies that he has doesn’t reflect his much bigger influence on any team he played for, or even on European basketball in general.
The EuroLeague will definitely become poorer as, for the second year in a row, a very big star is departing for the NBA. Last year it was Sergio Rodriguez and this year it’s Milos.
Jasikevicius and him
If we look at it purely from a competitive aspect, the Serb’s move could be compared to the course that another very big creator of European courts had in the NBA. We are talking, of course, about Sarunas Jasikevicius, a player who resembles Teodosic a lot in terms of the way he played. A basic difference, of course, is that the Lithuanian found himself in the US early on to play college basketball in Maryland. So, he had already been infected with the basketball culture that is prevalent in the US. And in the end he just didn’t make it.
Teodosic is a completely different case. He came of age in Serbia and Zeleznik and then passed from two very big clubs of our continent, winning titles before deciding to make the big step.
Essentially, the common characteristic of the two players is their playing style. The two of them are quite alike, have many elements in common and almost identical weaknesses that are more visible in the NBA, which is faster and more oriented towards explosion, athleticism and individual talent. Thankfully for Milos, his individual talent is exuberant and this will basically be his guide on the other side of the Atlantic. And contrary to Rubio, who in the past was wrongly compared to Pete Maravich, Milos can more than shoot the ball.
The Serb is going to be in Los Angeles and play for the Clippers, a team that is going through a transitional summer, as the free agency has left them with some gaping wounds.
The team’s leader, Chris Paul, has gone to Houston to form an explosive duo of creation and execution with James Harden. J.J.Redick is also a big loss, even though he was rather disappointing last year, as he went to Philadelphia to get incorporated into the process of the Sixers.
The Clippers obviously lost a big part of their powers in creation and execution, so the choice to acquire Teodosic makes a lot of sense. Along the perimeter, he will have his teammate in Olympiacos, Patrick Beverley, on his side, as well as Lou Williams, who was part of the exchange deal for Chris Paul and went the opposite direction, from Houston to Los Angeles. Also, Austin Rivers still belongs to the team from the City of Angels.
Circumstances indicate that the environment is pretty good for Milos, since he’s joining a team in which there is no other guard with his playing features. Beverley is an excellent defender but he comes up short in the front half of the court, while Lou Williams is more of a scorer than a creator. Rivers is a player with a better overall package, he was a big prospect when he was in Duke, but so far he hasn’t vindicated those who believed in him, since he’s had mediocre seasons and his breakout doesn’t seem to be coming.
Under these circumstances, the environment looks pretty fertile for a player who is an amazing creator and clearly it’s not only this, like, for example, Ricky Rubio. It’s that simple, the Clippers are a good team for Milos to fit in. Common sense says that this year, it’s going to be a season that will involve a lot of searching in terms of the way they play, since a large part of their main body has changed, but they will continue to be a team that will battle it out for a place in the playoffs.
That leads us to the main question: is Milos a good fit for the NBA?
I’m one of those people who think that Milos has a gift. And this is because he is a player who, if he had worked more on his body, he could’ve been among the best guards in the world. He could have also made the transition from Europe to the NBA earlier.
The playing style of the NBA is a good fit for Teodosic’s game. There is more space and the speed is definitely one or two levels higher than European basketball. We shouldn’t forget that, last season, CSKA were the top team in terms of pace in the EuroLeague, something that is largely due to Teodosic. This shows that the Serb is certainly not scared of speed and transition game, which most NBA teams follow. On the contrary, in fact, it’s an element that he worked on and cultivated in CSKA and he looks more prepared to deliver.
Aside from this, the Serb is a killer when it comes to shooting. In a team that has Griffin and Jordan and relies a lot on screens on the ball, he will be given several opportunities to take shots, especially if defenses aren’t that aggressive towards him on switches.
Aside from shooting, he will be able to create to a great extent, since both players we just mentioned are excellent in the pick-and-roll game. Griffin, in fact, has also improved his mid- and long-range shooting.
Also, we shouldn’t forget that Teodosic is a very smart player. He might not be the fastest or most explosive, but he knows how to use his body to protect the ball and his timing in execution is great.
Where he might have a real problem is defense. He has the misfortune of entering the NBA at a time when extremely talented guards are prevalent. He will definitely have to raise his defensive disposition, but he also has to work hard on reading his opponents, on the mental aspect, but also his positioning.
To summarize, the Serb has all the potential to do something good in the NBA. It remains to be seen if he can play a leading role like he did in Europe. Still it’s clear that if he’s able to cover his defensive weaknesses, he’ll get more playing time, but he’ll also feel that his team trusts him. His project is very interesting and because he is one of the best Europeans of all time and now he gets the time to show the Americans his huge talent.