Credit: BasketNews.lt/V.Mikaitis
Credit BasketNews.lt/V.Mikaitis

Coaching is one of the loneliest jobs in the world. Everyone blames you when there is a loss, just a few recognize your influence when winning.

Player of the Game
Walter  Tavares
EFF
17
Walter Tavares
Points 9
Accuracy 4-5
Rebounds 8
Assists 1

What Pablo Laso is doing in Madrid is something exceptional. It is unusual for a powerhouse like the Spanish one to keep the same head coach for a decade.

Pablo Laso reached this Thursday against Maccabi Tel Aviv his 800th game as Real Madrid head coach. The 54-year-old has won a total of 619 games, which is close to an impressive 80% of wins (77,7). And he has 21 titles, just one away from the historical Lolo Sainz.

The Spanish mastermind is one of the brightest group managers in European basketball, changing Madrid's mentality since his arrival late in 2011. The Blancos have not reached a European final since 1995. With him on the bench, Madrid has played 4 EuroLeague finals, crowning in 2 (2015 and 2018). 

"I do not care about this number. I mean, it's a lot, but I just try to think about the next game", said Laso before facing Maccabi.

From Sergio Rodríguez to Campazzo

Pablo Laso set a distinguished philosophy since he became Madrid's head coach. He arrived after a dark period. He wanted to play fast, to make people have fun. 

He could develop his style with the best point guards. Firstly, with Sergio Rodriguez and Sergio Llull in his prime. Then, with a youngster but absolutely well prepared for the elite as Luka Doncic. Finally, Facundo Campazzo left Europe as probably the best playmaker.

Credit AP – Scanpix

He has also had players like Felipe Reyes, Rudy Fernandez, and Andres Nocioni (Euroleague MVP Finals in 2015), talented guys like Mirotic and Thompkins, and one of the best shooters in the modern era (Jaycee Carroll).

Despite being branded as a coach who does not use centers appropriately, Laso used Gustavo Ayon excellently in the 2x2 situations to distribute the offensive plays. Slaughter was essential in defense. And obviously, Tavares is a key factor nowadays.

Players change, Laso remains.

Opportunities for young players

Another interesting point about Laso's journey is the number of young players who made their debuts with the first team.

Some of them are now in the NBA (Doncic, Willy Hernangomez, and Usman Garuba), others are stepping up in the ACB League (Santiago Yusta, Jonathan Barreiro, and Dino Radoncic).

Three new youngsters are working to find their spot on the team. Juan Nuñez - an innovative point guard, Tristan Vuckevic - a shooting power-forward, and Eli Ndiaye - a skinny center. 

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2022-01-10
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Madrido Real
Tel Avivo Maccabi
45%
30/66
Field goals
48%
28/58
33
Rebounds
32
12
Assists
12
5
Steals
7
55%
26/47
2-pointers
55%
23/42
21%
4/19
3-pointers
31%
5/16

Best players

Thomas  Heurtel
15 PTS
6/13 FG
1/2 FT
Scottie  Wilbekin
14 PTS
4/14 FG
5/5 FT
Walter  Tavares
8 REB
4 DREB
4 OREB
Roman  Sorkin
5 REB
5 DREB
0 OREB
Thomas  Heurtel
5 As
2 TO
22 MIN
Scottie  Wilbekin
5 As
4 TO
27 MIN
Walter  Tavares
17 EFF
80% 2P%
- 3P%
Ante  Zizic
13 EFF
83% 2P%
- 3P%