Despite a narrow 88-84 win over Great Britain on Saturday, Greece guard Kostas Sloukas knows that the team have a long way to go ahead of Eurobasket, which starts on August 31.
The Greeks are coming to terms with the loss of their leader Giannis Antetokounmpo, which overshadowed the game in London as the Bucks forward posted the confirmation of his absence 55 minutes before the scheduled tip-off.
And, like they have been in preparation, Greece were nowhere near their best, defensively against Great Britain, something that coach Kostas Missas believes is their main weakness that needs major improvement ahead of their Eurobasket opener against Iceland in Helsinki on August 31.
However, despite the defensive woes, Greece’s offence has been a highlight and especially on Saturday night against the Brits, they showcased an exceptional offensive attack with inch-perfect spacing, smart off-ball movement, lethal transition and perhaps their biggest asset: making the right pass to open team-mates, no matter where they were on the court.
But most importantly, in the six preparation contests, they have won five, the 93-61 drubbing by Serbia being the sole loss. So despite not clicking at both ends of the court, Greece have been winning.
Sloukas though believes that while they still need to work on their defensive mindset, it’s team chemistry on the court that needs work before their Eurobasket opener in ten days.
“We are making progress, step-by-step,” Sloukas says. “We have talent but we need to find our team chemistry to improve some things, especially on defence.”
It was at that moment that coach Missas interrupted Sloukas, looked at him and said “especially defence”. Something that is obviously weighing heavily on the play caller’s mind, despite holding supposed Eurobasket minnows Romania to just 48 points in their first preparation game in Patras, earlier this month.
“[Defence] is important though, we work hard on this everyday,” Sloukas states. “And I ensure you and everyone that we will be ready for the first game of the European Championships.”
Also in Greece’s group along with Iceland will be co-hosts Finland, Slovenia, France and Poland.