Moscow (heinnews) – The progression of the players Milos Teodosic has admired says a lot about his own development. And with the NBA a realistic option next season, it should be no surprise he would be looking to join an NBA organization who wants his “type” of point guard.
Teodosic’s dominance in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague has many observers saying it’s a foregone conclusion that the 29-year-old playmaker will head to the United States next season to join the NBA.
Not so fast, says the CSKA Moscow point guard.
“Obviously, the NBA is the strongest league in the world. But my plans for next season are not set yet,” ‘Teo’ told heinnews.
He said there is still too much of a season left with CSKA to think about the NBA.
“It is too early to set goals when you are not there,” he said when asked what his goals in the NBA would be.
“I am fully focused on adapting my game to the needs of my current team.”
Teodosic, who is in his sixth season with CSKA and coming off his first EuroLeague title, sounds torn at the moment between heading to the States and staying in Europe.
“I want to test myself playing with and against the best players in the world, to see if I can play an important role there,” the three-time All-EuroLeague First Teamer Teodosic said.
“I don’t want to because I am happy to play for CSKA Moscow. I really enjoy living here and playing for this team. It will be very difficult to say farewell to the people who surround me now.”
Still, the NBA was a dream for Teodosic early on.
“Every kid who grows up playing basketball dreams of playing in the NBA one day.”
Teodosic grew up in the city of Valjevo, which has about 60,000 people and is located about 90 kilometers southwest of Belgrade. And he watched the NBA whenever possible.
He said his earliest NBA memories was the 1993 NBA Finals with Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls against the Phoenix Suns and Charles Barkley.
“At the time we did not have many NBA games on TV in Serbia so every game was big for us,” recalled Teodosic, who was born in 1987. “Also I remember the times when (Vlade) Divac and Peja (Stojakovic) were playing for Sacramento and all of Serbia was awake early in the morning to watch them fighting in the playoffs.”
Early in his career, Teodosic was widely known for his spectacular play, which also bordered on wild as his creativity sometimes led him to questionable decisions. As he began gaining more experience, Teo began to settle down on the wild side and relied responsibly on his fantastic playmaking skills. And that transformation is also evident in his choice of favorite players.
“When I was young I enjoyed watching spectacular players like Kobe Bryant and others. Growing up I started to admire a smarter kind of basketball like the one that is played by San Antonio. And I really liked to watch Tim Duncan even though he wasn’t playing on my position.”
While Teodosic is yet to play in the NBA, he has played against the top of the NBA’s elite – at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and twice at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Teodosic picked up 10 points and 7 assists in the 2014 title game but could not keep Serbia from being beaten handily by the United States 129-92.
Serbia fought hard against the Americans in the Rio group stage as Teodosic had 18 points and 6 assists in a 94-91 defeat. But then the floor general was held to 9 points and 3 assists in a 96-66 hammering in the Rio gold medal game.
“It is very different to learn something from the games where you lose by 35-40 points. I may realize that I am able to play on this level but I need to improve my game to compete against this guys,” he said.
“We were beaten up so I prefer not to talk about my game when we lost by a huge margin. I can only say that I was not able to help my team. So probably my performance wasn’t good.”
Despite the losses in the two finals, Teodosic still has the distinction of being a FIBA Basketball World Cup finalist and an Olympic silver medalist – something very few can say.
He also has the chance to lead CSKA Moscow to their eighth EuroLeague crown and first repeat. And CSKA defending their title would be just the second club to accomplish that since 2005 – with Olympiacos’ repeat in the 2012-13 season being the other.
Then Teodosic and the people around him will figure out what to do about the NBA. But what would he be looking for in a team should he make the jump overseas?
“First, I have to see who is really interested in my help,” he said. “If I go, I would like to go to the team that needs the point guard of my type.”
The type of being great.