The Coach: Pablo Laso, Real Madrid

May 05, 2019 by Print
The Coach: Pablo Laso, Real Madrid

At a legendary team like Real Madrid, which has been competing at the highest European level for six decades, only a few coaches can go down among the greats. Pablo Laso is one of them. He has led the way for Real to become a consistent EuroLeague title contender for the first time this century. Now in his eighth season with the club, Laso has guided Real to six Final Four appearances.

Before Laso arrived, Real had last hoisted Europe's premier club trophy in 1995 and had been to four EuroLeague championship games in 33 years. Under Laso, Real went to three consecutive EuroLeague championship games starting in 2013, and in the last of those, in 2015, lifted the trophy in the Spanish capital. Laso led Real to a fourth championship game and a second EuroLeague title in 2018. Since the Final Four format was adopted in 1988, Real has reached more Final Fours with Coach Laso (six) than without him (four).

Laso has been blessed with a core of excellent and loyal players; six from his current squad are two-time EuroLeague champs with him and Real. Much of their success comes from Laso's basketball philosophy, which is based on strong defense and rebounding leading to a dangerous transition game, easy baskets and crowd-pleasing basketball.

Over the last eight years, Real has led the EuroLeague in performance index rating, assists and defensive rebounds. Each of its 5,962 defensive rebounds has been an opportunity for Real to run the floor and find open shots in transition. Sergio Llull, Sergio Rodriguez and Luka Doncic were each named EuroLeague Season MVP while playing point guard for Laso.

Laso has managed to keep his cadre of talents happy with their minutes and roles, which is no easy task. He makes sure to keep everyone involved, with different players stepping up at different periods throughout the year. Now, in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Laso has the chance to become just the eighth coach to win three continental crowns.