Credit: Reuters – Scanpix
Credit Reuters – Scanpix

Ergin Ataman is one of the most charismatic coaches in Europe. He directs one of the best teams in the continent, current EuroLeague champions, Anadolu Efes Istanbul.

His ability as a coach is undeniable, and now he has a very competitive squad to direct, but not everything was as easy as it seems. In an interview with DAZN, he talked about his team, stars, and the problem with the NBA and its signing policy.

Efes coach mentioned the problems that exist now in Europe regarding the signing of players by NBA clubs, using Real Madrid as an example.

"Let's play! A game between the EuroLeague champion and the NBA champion. We're ready, let's do it. Everybody's talking about it, it's time.

I hope that in the future, the EuroLeague will also reach that level because I think it is a big mistake that some important players leave European teams for the NBA during the season. To me, it's unacceptable. For the market and the prestige of the EuroLeague, it is unacceptable what happened last season with Real Madrid," the Turkish coach maintained.

Referring to his team, Anadolu Efes, the Turkish coach, admitted to being "very proud because I have changed the fate of the Turkish league in the last three years."

"Before me, Fenerbache always won the title. Since I arrived at Efes, they have not won any," Ataman explained.

Despite their great current squad, Efes were not always as competitive as they are today.

"We made this team three years ago, and we were the last team in the EuroLeague. We changed the whole team and built good chemistry. Three years ago, our budget was 10 million euros. Now, with the same players, it's 20 million. Everyone has improved."

One of their flagship players is Vasilije Micic. The Serbian won all possible prizes in Europe, both individual and collective. Despite such brilliance and with offers from the NBA on the table, the Serbian point guard decided to extend his contract with Anadolu Efes.

"I was the only one who believed Micic was going to stay with the team. Obviously, there were offers from the NBA, and Oklahoma has his rights, but none offered him to be a leading player. In Europe, he is the MVP, so great offers came. Efes is a great club and made a big sacrifice to renew him.

It's no secret. Micic arrived three years ago for $500,000 and now has a $3 million contract. It's a lot of money, but he deserves it."

Another standout is Shane Larkin, who, together with Micic, form one of the most fearsome pairs of guards in Europe, both in terms of game vision and scoring. Although Larkin isn't coming off his best season due to injuries, Ataman trusts him.

"I'm optimistic with Larkin. Last year he had a lot of physical problems, but this year I hope he will play as he did two years ago, when he was the real MVP of the 2019-20 season. "

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Free throws this season

75%
6,0
Points made: 6,0
Accuracy: 75,0%
Place in standings: 17
Record max: 6
Record min: 6
Most made FTs: Thomas Heurtel