Q: This was your 10th EuroLeague season. How important was the EuroLeague for your development as a player? Pablo Prigioni: “Look, the EuroLeague was the maximum motivation anyone could have. Playing the EuroLeague allows you to play against the best teams and the best players in Europe. It has always been a great challenge and I took it that way. I enjoyed a lot competing all around Europe against the best. I always said over the last few years, while I was in the NBA, that playing the EuroLeague had nothing to envy in comparison to playing in the NBA because of its competition level and the excitement it brings. I don’t know how to express it because the Spanish League is also really strong, it has always been, but the EuroLeague was the biggest step to take in Europe.”
You talked about going to NBA next season. It’s your definite decision? Ante Zizic: Yes, of course. I was selected in the first Round but I wanted to stay one more year overseas in order to prepare for the NBA. Now I’m playing in EuroLeague and the next step is NBA. I’m 99% sure that I’m going to be there on summer. I feel comfortable now and I think I’m ready for this step.
Tell me about the Boston Celtics. They have some great players and are doing really fine this season. Ante Zizic: I’m always in touch with the guys from Celtics. They watch my game and they come visit me. Indeed, they play really, really good this season. They have a lot of potential as a team, because it’s a young team. They have players who can play great individual and team basketball. Next season I want to be a part what they’ll do.”
“Real Madrid is one of the best teams in Europe and in basketball,” Mirotic said of his former team. “I had a great time playing there, great memories. I won championships there. I know the fans want me back there. But my first idea is the NBA.”
Fred Katz: Thought this quote from Russell Westbrook about how offenses in Europe “are 10 times better than NBA offense” was interesting: On second game defense, what he saw different “Just our awareness on what plays. I think one thing people don’t realize is guarding teams in Europe, their offenses are 10 times better than NBA offense just because they move around a lot. A lot of movement and not as much talent so they have to do different things to be able to score the basketball. I think it was a good experience for us to be able to go to Europe and be able to guard those offenses and some of the best teams. That’s always good for us.”
Green had previously played in Euroleague during 2013/2014 (with Montepaschi Siena), before getting his first NBA contract, with the Denver Nuggets. And he has no problem admitting to Eurohoops, that returning to the best league in the world, is among his top ambitions. “I think that my decision to join Olympiacos can skyrocket my career. I believe it will help me return to the NBA. I am a part of a great organization. I have excellent teammates, I will play in Euroleague, the second biggest league in the planet, and I’ll prove that I can do important things at the top level of basketball.”
Perhaps it’s a statement that also vindicates De Colo’s decision to sign a new, multi-year contract with the Russian powerhouse and not pursue a possible return to USA. “Well, I had already made my decision so it doesn’t matter. I really wanted to sign again with CSKA Moscow. I feel really great in the team right now. It was important to renew with them because I got all the responsibilities I want in the team. CSKA wants to go until the end every season, to win every single title there is. And this means a lot to me.”