Milos Teodosic, the Romantic

Milos WILL bounce back.  Because he is one of a kind. Because his destiny is to reach the top. Because even with teams like Olympiacos 2010 and CSKA 2012 with more than half a dozen NBA and Euroleague legends around him-Kleiza, Childress, Vujcic, Papaloukas, Kirilenko, Siskauskas, Krstic, Khryapa-Milos was the go-to-guy in every occasion.  And take last year’s CSKA Moscow team, who lost games only to Galatasaray and Bilbao outside of their meltdown to Olympiacos in the finals. How did Teodosic’s performance affect CSKA’s end result?

When Milos had an index rating of 10 or better, CSKA averaged a +19.6-point differential.

When it was under 10, CSKA averaged a +8.7-point differential. 

But even better, this is shown by Fotis Katsikaris in his own words, the coach of Bilbao, after they won Game 3 of last year’s EL Top 8 round against the Russian powerhouse :

The key for our success was that we reduced our mistakes, grabbed the rebounds and defended Milos. We know how great Andrei is but without Milos spreading the floor with his court vision and amazing passing game, CSKA is less of a team and easier to play against.

But as I said…Milos WILL bounce back. In fact, he might already be in mid-bounce. During this season, and after a bumpy first month – during which Milos recorded a clutch 3-point shot against FC Barcelona – Milos Teodosic has really been balling:

12 games: 18.3 rkg, 15.6 points, 31-of-47 (65.9 percent) on twos, 30-of-76 (39.5 percent) on threes, 35-of-41 on free throws (85.4 percent), 3 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.8 turnovers.

Remember the analysis a few lines above, that Milos struggled with his shot in the new era of European basketball? Well he doesn’t anymore. Forty percent from the three-point line is not struggling. Remember when he struggled, finding passing lanes and had a terrible assist:turnover ratio? Well he now has a 2.3 A:TO ratio and it should only get better. He has improved in every single statistical category this year .

Milos, is of course the main shot creator for CSKA Moscow, but this year he has also managed to improve his True Shooting percentage drastically as well his shot selection, which can only mean good things for the team he is guiding on the floor.

We all know he will never be a defensive stopper, but Milos is putting effort in his defensive responsibilities and is really contributing on the other end of the floor, in comparison to what we have seen from him. Messina is dealing with the same problems Dusan Ivkovic dealt with during the summer. He is still searching for a reliable backup point guard to run the offense instead of Milos when he has to rest him.

Aaron Jackson hasn’t lived up to the expectations, Dionte Christmas never had playmaking on his résumé and was recently waived, so now it’s all up to EL legend, Theo Papaloukas, to fill that spot. He has the class and reputation to guide Milos, he has the experience to learn the system and secure possessions, but does he have the energy to spell Milos when Messina really needs it?

We’ll have to wait and see. Kazlauskas had a relatively easy job with this last year, since he had Alexey Shved (now playing 27 minutes per game with the Timberwolves) to fill in the point guard position. With Shved in Minnesota, Milos’ minutes have only seen  slight bump-four more minutes per game-so it’s unclear whether this will takes its toll by the time the season comes to an end. But Milos is not looking tired yet, and his numbers are proving that, as he is exceeding all statistical expectations. So far his 14.7 PIR ranks third among point guards playing 25+ minutes, behind only the rejuvenated Zoran Planinic and mighty Bobby Brown.  Teodosic also ranks third in the +/- category, recording a pretty insane +128-point advantage for CSKA Moscow.  Only Barcelona’s backcourt duo of Marcelinho Huertas (+139) and, somewhat surprisingly, Victor Sada (-137) are ahead of him on that list.

If you are a true Teodosic aficionado I probably lost you somewhere between Shved and statistical expectations.  I love numbers but I love Milos more and I know that you might not care about numbers. Likewise, I know that Milos was never loved – by me or any other – because of his numbers. He was loved for his style of play, the way he runs the floor, his QUARTERBACK passing, his OBSESSION with the unexpected, how he always finds a way to amaze us. Good or Bad it really doesn’t matter as long as he is who he is.

And he is simply irresistible to love…irresistible to watch. OK, OK I know many of you HATE him but we will always watch him play and wait for this one magic moment when we stare at each other with that look in our eyes: “What the FUCK did Milos just do, dude!?

Damn, is he GREAT to watch. This 14-minute clip can back me up.

To conclude the Milos Teodosic Saga, I didn’t write all these down in order to convince you… I did it to convince me. To convince myself that Milos will not, once again, FAIL. To convince myself, that Milos will finally be the player he was meant to be. And trust me when I say that I really, really don’t want that revelation to come when he’s playing against my team, Olympiacos BC.

Will I be glad if Olympiacos loses a game from a Milos Teodosic spectacular performance? Most certainly not. But do I want Milos to win the Euroleague championship, if my team one way or the other fails to defend the title this year? MOST CERTAINLY YES.

Every time I find myself doubting him, I always think of the same thing…

Milos Teodosic has achieved at the age of 25, more than half of the things, the three greatest point guards of the decade (Papaloukas, Jasikevicius, Diamantidis) have achieved in their entire careers. At the age of 25, Papaloukas was just leaving Olympiacos after one year, to join CSKA Moscow, Diamantidis had played his first year with Panathinaikos and was simply learning Obradovic’s system and finally Jasikevicius, after spending his first two years in Europe with Lietuvos Rytas and Olimpija Ljubljana, had just ended his first year as a Barcelona player.

Milos Teodosic, at the exact same age, has already played in a EuroBasket final and a World Championship semifinal, participated in three Euroleague Final Fours and two finals, played in more than 100 Euroleague games and earned both a Euroleague MVP and European Player of the Year Award. I know I’ve said all that before, more than once even.

But damn, he’s just 25 years old. Milos will bounce back. He is destined to do so. He will fulfill his destiny. The top. I know it. I believe and I want to lay witness, to lay back and enjoy the ride.


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