Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso has been pleased with how his two guards Sergio Llull and Luka Doncic have contributed to the team’s rise to the EuroLeague Final Four, away from the stasheet.
From cameo roles last season, the Slovenian rose to stardom by averaging 8.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists in this campaign, leading to the unanimous Rising Star award victory.
The 29-year-old Llull, now in his tenth year with Real Madrid has undoubtedly been the team’s go-to guy, leading the team with 16.4 points a game and is expected to claim the EuroLeague MVP award when it’s announced on Saturday during Final Four weekend in Istanbul.
Away from the stats, Laso, who won the EuroLeague title with Llull in the Spanish capital, two years ago praised his two star guards on how they have made the team better as they prepare for their fourth Final Four in five years.
“I believe that both Sergio and Luka gave us a lot this season and have been praised a lot because of the way they played,” Laso said.
“What makes me more proud, however, is the fact that they have been able to make their team-mates better. People tend to look at Sergio as a player who scores big baskets in crunch time – and this is part of his game – but don’t take into account other aspects of his game that were important for the team.
“I could say the same about Luka. He is a very all-around player who can help the team in many ways. Their contribution is very important to make the team grow and be competitive, but if you see Fenerbahce’s roster, you will find the same. Kostas Sloukas is not a Final Four newcomer and played great games with Olympiacos and Fenerbahce. Bobby Dixon is at a very high level. I think all teams in the Final Four have great players at all spots and, of course, at the point guard position.”
Real will face Fenerbahce in a rematch of the 2015 semi-final, which the Liga Endesa side won in-front of their home crowd in Madrid. Two years later though and the roles will be reversed as Fenerbahce welcome the opponents to their home city of Istanbul.
“In my opinion, a game between Real Madrid and Fenerbahce is always interesting, no matter when it is played,” he commented. “We have even played in preseason. I think both teams are really good European basketball reference points with outstanding players on both rosters. I think that it is almost a classic game in European basketball in recent years.
“We will play in the EuroLeague semi-final, which means we did a good job to get there. In the end, you will see great players compete at the highest level, and that makes the game very attractive for fans.”