This NBA offseason has been filled with crazy rumors and huge moves. Paul George and Chris Paul were traded. Gordon Hayward left Utah to sign with the Boston Celtics. Even Kyrie Irving is demanding a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers. With these big names being thrown around and discussed, it’s easy for the smaller signings to fall under the radar. After trading Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Clippers had a lot of work to do in free agency to revamp their roster. JJ Redick, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Marreese Speights also left the Clippers, it looked as if they would be going into rebuilding mode. However, they re-signed Blake Griffin and worked out a sign and trade deal for Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari. To top it all off, the Clippers then completed the best free agent signing this year: Milos Teodosic, on a two year $12 million deal.
Teodosic is a 30 year old 6’5” Serbian guard who has played for CSKA Moscow for the past seven years. In fact, Teodosic has spent the entirety of his career in Europe, not playing a single game in the NBA. Don’t let any of this fool you. He was voted the best non-NBA player in the world by NBA coaches, and won the FIBA Europe Player of the Year award last season. American basketball fans saw glimpses of Teodosic during the 2016 Olympics in which Teodosic led the Serbian national team to a Silver Medal. He amazed viewers with his incredible court vision, flashy passes, and elite outside shooting.
One year later, the Serb is getting his first opportunity in the NBA. And I believe he has all of the tools that will make him succeed. For starters, Lonzo Ball might not even be the best passer in Los Angeles. That title could very well go to Teodosic. In his last three seasons, he has averaged 6.5 assists per game. If you watch highlights of Teodosic, you will see his uncanny passing ability. He always seems to be able to get the ball to an open man no matter what. His awareness on the court is astounding. Some of the passes he has made have left me wondering how the hell he sees his teammates and how the hell he physically gets them the ball. NBA fans better watch out for his behind the back, no look, over the shoulder, and just plain intelligent passes.
In addition to being a top level playmaker, Teodosic excels in the scoring end of the game. He is lethal from three point range, shooting almost .430% from deep last year. He has proven that he can be effective spotting up, shooting off the dribble, shooting off screens, and creating his own shot. Defenders are tentative to aggressively close out on him due to his quick ball handling and ability to blow by defenders and drive the lane. Scoring inside off the dribble is another thing Teodosic has mastered using his well-known passing ability to force defenders to sag off. If defenders pressure Teodosic inside, he will dish it off. If they guard the big men inside and leave Teodosic, he will score at the rim. There are no weak spots in his offensive game that can be exploited, even in the NBA.
Teodosic and his fluid style of play have been compared to that of former MVP point guard Steve Nash. And with his stellar passing and shooting, I see no reason why he shouldn’t be compared to Nash. Players similar to Teodosic have succeeded in the NBA multiple times. The fact that he is that good and only getting $6 million a year is such a good deal for the Clippers. Bums like Amir Johnson, Omer Asik, and Chandler Parsons are all making a good deal more than Teodosic.
Although he is not the best defender, that shouldn’t matter too much. It will be tough to take advantage of him due to his decent height for a guard and the fact that he will be playing along side First Team All-Defense guard Patrick Beverley. Beverley being traded to the Clippers will help them out immensely by allowing Teodosic to take on the less difficult guard matchup on defense. I actually would have tipped Teodosic to win this year’s Rookie of the Year, but I can’t trust that Clippers Coach Doc Rivers will stupidly give some of his playing time to his son, Austin Rivers. With that being said, remember the name Milos Teodosic this year. He won’t disappoint you.