View from the bench: Week 9

Aito Garcia RenesesWorld-renowned as a master teacher of basketball, Aito Garcia Reneses holds a place as one of the most prestigious coaches in Europe. He won a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics to go with a ULEB Cup, two Korac Cups, nine Spanish Leagues and five Spanish Cup titles, just to name a few of his accomplishments in almost four decades on the benches of basketball powers like F.C. Barcelona, Joventut Badalona and Unicaja. Aito, as everyone in European basketball knows him, is also a regular contributor to the Mastermind Coaching Seminars of the Euroleague Basketball Institute. He joins to give his coach's point of view and analysis on Turkish Airlines Euroleague games.

Faced with the technical superiority of Caja Laboral on Wednesday, Nancy head coach Jean-Luc Monschau could do little more than keep motivating his players, who nonetheless found themselves always behind the curve against such a strong rival on its home court.

Mirza Teletovic

He only played a little over 23 minutes, when his average was around 35. There is a lot of scouting nowadays among teams and the only way to neutralize it is by playing so well that it doesn't matter that the opponent already knows what you had prepared, because they can't stop you anyway. That's what happens in the case of Teletovic and his three-pointers. His defenders certainly know that he will shoot from the arc, but since he does it from the top, so quickly and from so far away, it is really unstoppable. It was even more difficult for Nancy, whose defenders didn't as pay much attention as they should have to Teletovic. To that we can add good strategy on the part of Caja Laboral, as we can see in the three first clips, in which Teletovic manages to score with the same play. The first two come by passes from Pablo Prigioni, penetrating on his right side, and the third on another from Brad Oleson, penetrating on his best side, the left. If they wanted to help in the pick-and-roll with Teletovic's defender, the Nancy players should have switched immediately with the defender outside, whoever was covering Pau Ribas, Fernando San Emeterio or Thomas Heurtel.

In order for Teletovic to be more versatile, and therefore more difficult to stop by a defenders with certain specialties, he must not limit himself to three-pointers. And that is what he tries to do, as we can see in the following two clips, by trying to get the ball in the low post. In the second one, we can see that he manages to go out with a quick spin (and because it was so quick, manages to avoid being called for travelling). He gets the basket and one. Until now, his percentages in two-point shooting were lower than in triples.

Teletovic completes his offensive show when the defender comes out to defend his three-pointer. With dribble penetration, Teletovic feeds Oleson, who moves perfectly into the line of the pass. (Clip 6).

And let's not forget to mention that Teletovic is his team's best rebounder, too.

Pablo Prigioni

Now, we are witnessing of one of the smartest point guards to ever grace our courts, both for making steals and directing a team. He manages to be the best passer for his teammates by always finding the right way and perfect moment to give them the ball, so they can all score from their favorite positions. He can also choose when to demoralize a defense with one of his long threes, as we can see in Clip 7, even though in this case it was not decisive. In Clip 8, we can see how aggressive Prigioni is defensively, so much that the referee must remind him not to invade the space of the inbounder!

I will finish by saying that Dusko Ivanovic's team was superior, both on offense and defense. They also had better organization and used better individual fundamentals. Players need to know not only when to shoot, but to do so as we can see in this last Clip 9. San Emeterio gets the ball from Prigioni after the help of his defender, and when the latter recovers, he fakes his defender into the air, allowing for a three-pointer after dribbling to the left.