Ergin Ataman Anadolu Efes
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

EuroLeague-winning playcaller Ergin Ataman admits that his chances of landing an NBA coaching role is shrinking.

In an interview with the Turkish digital channel ‘VOLE’, Ataman admitted he had been in talks with several NBA teams during this offseason.

But he was only being considered as an assistant, not his preferred choice of head coach.

“My aspirations regarding the NBA are diminishing. I observe that the NBA is a different world. They have a different perception regarding basketball coaches in Europe,” Ataman said.

During the interview, Ataman, who is currently leading the Turkish national side into EuroBasket noted that no European coach has been successful in the NBA.

The most recent effort was by Igor Kokoskov, who landed the main role at the Phoenix Suns following his success with Slovenia at EuroBasket 2017.

However, Kokoskov managed just one season with the Suns having steered them to a dismal 19-63 record in the Western Conference.

Ataman though says he has nothing to prove if he landed himself an NBA role.

“As a head coach who is having big success in EuroLeague and won titles in the last four years, I don’t think I have anything to prove about myself to NBA scouts. What matters the most for me is having some success and making Turkish people happy,” he said. 

“I always say that when an offer comes from a team in the NBA, I won’t hesitate, but I see that they have no such intention. They just say, ‘You’re going to be an assistant coach here for a few years.”

Ataman led Anadolu Efes to a second straight EuroLeague title in May with a nail-biting championship win over Real Madrid.

He will coach Turkey at the upcoming EuroBasket where they will face Montenegro, Spain, Bulgaria, Belgium and hosts Georgia in Group A.