Let’s Meet Milos Teodosic: Europe’s White Chocolate

The NBA is building a strong pipeline throughout Europe, and Serbia’s Milos Teodosic could be the latest to bring his flashy style over to America.

When you think about the premier white players in the NBA, a lot of them are from Europe. Guys like Dirk Nowitzki, Marc and Pau Gasol all traveled across the Atlantic and are still leaving their mark on the NBA. Of course, for every Dirk there’s a Darko; for every Gasol, there are a handful of guys who just don’t last in the league.

Europe plays a much different style than we do in America. Over there, skill is what separates guys, and European prospects are bred to be players who aren’t reliant on athleticism. In the states, almost all of the top college and high school players are incredible athletes with raw skills offensively. It’s hard to teach explosiveness and much easier to tweak a jump shot, so organizations draft young guys who can get molded into great players.

The 20-year-old who makes the jump from college to the pros almost seamlessly has a combination of refined skills and freak athleticism. And they probably aren’t coming from Europe. Think about Kristaps Porzingis and Ricky Rubio. Both guys were two of the most hyped prospects heading into their respective drafts. Porzingis’ size and ability to shoot and handle had general managers salivating, while Rubio dazzled scouts with incredible basketball IQ that was only rivaled by his uncanny ability to put pinpoint passes where no one else could.

Both are average athletes at best.

During the second half of the 2016 calendar year, Milos Teodosic started generating a lot of buzz after he said that’d he’d consider a stint in the NBA.

Who?

Don’t worry — I got you covered.

Milos Teodosic is a 6–5 guard who hails from Serbia and has spent the last decade toying with his EuroLeague opponents. The six most recent seasons have been spent with CSKA Moscow, and the four before that was with Olympiakos. In his prime at 29, Teodosic has already amassed a handful of accolades:

  • EuroLeague Champion, 2016
  • EuroLeague MVP, 2010
  • FIBA Europe Player of the Year, 2010
  • All-EuroLeague First Team, 2010, 2015–16
  • All-EuroLeague Second Team, 2012–13

The year he brought home the MVP award, Teodosic averaged 13.4 points on 48.9 percent shooting, 4.9 assists and 1.8 steals across EuroCup and EuroLeague competition.

Since joining CSKA Moscow, Teodosic has been playing the best basketball of his career. He’s a threat to go for 13 points and five assists on a consistent basis, and that includes 16.5 and 7.4 this season. If you see those numbers and brush them off because they aren’t as inflated as some guys over here, I can’t blame you. However, European teams aren’t scoring at the rate of their American counterparts, and CSKA is the EuroLeague’s leading scorer at 87.9 points a night.

So, what makes Teodosic an intriguing prospect is absorbed better with an eye test. He’s the primary ball handler for CSKA Moscow, and he’s big and is a threat to knock down shots from the outside. At 6–5, he can rise and shoot over small defenders, but he also crafty as opposed to being athletic; imagine a less lethal James Harden. If he wants to get to the basket, he’s going to find a way to get there.

I draw the Jason Williams comparison, not because of his flashy handles or confounding passes, but because Teodosic gets the ball where it needs to go. Sometimes it’s a dazzling pass, and sometimes it isn’t. He’s got great vision and is a willing passer to top it off.

Not many guys at his size are making a bounce pass in between two guys, but this is the kind of dynamic he would bring to the states.

Every team in the league likes to get out and run now, and Teodosic, being a natural point guard, can run a team in transition or the halfcourt. If he landed with a team who thinks they’re at track practice, he would create a handful of buckets (and highlights) because opponents would need to worry about him along with his teammates.

Rubio was the most recent European floor general who tantalized with his passing, but he’s always been inept offensively. What that does is allows the defense to worry about the guys who are established weapons.

Teodosic probably won’t make an All-Star if he comes over, but he’s stressed how important winning is to him, and he’s got all the capabilities to put a team over the edge either as a backup or as a starter. With a reliable offensive game, a high IQ and intangibles to match, Milos Teodosic would put together a handful of solid seasons in the league and be as entertaining as his contemporaries.


This post first appeared on thebasketballnetwork.com.