Ioannis Sfairopoulos sided with Sergio Scariolo and Israel Gonzalez, saying that if it made the player feel uncomfortable, the defensive system worked no matter how much time it was used.

Credit: Lukšta
Credit Lukšta

Mike James made headlines with his comments about ALBA Berlin using the box-and-one defense throughout the entire game recently, calling the tactic gutless. With Virtus Segafredo Bologna's head coach Sergio Scariolo having already responded, coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos chimed in as well.

Mike James

Mike  James
Mike  James
MIN: 31.49
PTS: 17.79 (53.62%)
REB: 3.57
As: 4.43
ST: 1.36
BL: 0
TO: 1.64
GM: 14

The Greek coach joined the Area52 podcast where he touched on various European basketball topics. The box-and-one debate was one of them.

"First of all, I respect Mike James a lot. He's one of the best players in the EuroLeague, he was successful wherever he played, and created a lot of good stuff and good things for his team," Sfairopoulos started off.

"Coaches decide what's best for their team to win the game. When coach Gonzalez decided to play box-and-one, he for sure had a plan B but when you watch during the game that this plan A is working, keeps you on a good momentum, confuses the other team, and creates problems for the other team, why would you change the defense? Coaches want to win the game," the coach said.

Next, the former Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv and Olympiacos Pireus coach further explained his thoughts, noting the strength difference between the two teams that causes the supposedly weaker squad to search for various ways to defeat the favorite. 

"Compared to ALBA, Monaco are playing better, they're in a good position in the standings, how do you fight against this level of a team? You cannot fight directly, you need to find a different way to fight against that team," he said. "That was the way, and that was very successful. 40 minutes, 30 minutes, 20 minutes? To me, it doesn't matter."

"The coach needs to do whatever he believes and he thinks that it's good for his team to win the game," Sfairopoulos continued. "I agree with him and I agree with coaches that he took the right decision from the result that they were involved in the game until the end."

Asked whether he expects Mike James to reply to his comments as the player did to Scariolo, Sfairopoulos laughed it off.

"To tell you the truth, when the player doesn't feel comfortable against box-and-one for 40 minutes, that means it works," he concluded.


Mike James

Mike  James
Team: AS Monaco
Position: PG, SG
Age: 32
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 84 kg
Birth place: Oregon, United States of America