Panathinaikos head coach Rick Pitino has praised European basketball as the best that he has ever experienced.
The 67-year-old Naismith Hall of Famer has also made a subtle dig at the NBA product by describing it as “an All-Star competition in every game” referring to the over use of isolation plays, lack of defence and wild three-point attempts.
“European basketball is the best basketball I’ve ever experienced in my life, the purest basketball, the built-in attacks, the way they keep on defence, the coaching,” Pitino said in an interview with Israeli website Walla.
“It [NBA] has changed in recent years, and became an All-Star competition in every game. Last night I talked on the phone with my son, and he said the same thing.”
Pitino’s comments – made before his side squares-off against Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv tonight [Thursday] – comes following Tyler Dorsey’s statement on Eurohoops TV that it is harder to score in the EuroLeague.
Last season’s NBA Rookie of the Year and 2018 EuroLeague MVP, Luka Doncic has also mentioned that it is easier to score in the NBA due to wider court markings and defensive three-second calls, the latter of which does not apply in the EuroLeague.
The defensive three-second call does not allow the defence to stay in the key, which makes it all the more puzzling why most NBA stars decide to pull the trigger from distance when they can make use of the leverage that they have of driving to the basket.
Panathinaikos, currently sitting in sixth place in the EuroLeague standings with a 9-5 record defeated Fenerbahce 81-78 at an empty OAKA in Athens on Tuesday night.
Normally bursting with 18,000 raucous Panathinaikos fans, EuroLeague Basketball ordered the Greek side to play the game behind closed doors, for failure to adopt the necessary security measures, lighting of flares and fireworks inside the arena and committing acts that show a lack of respect under the EuroLeague Basketball Disciplinary Code in the game they played against bitter rivals, Olympiacos on December 6.
However, despite the lack of atmosphere, the game itself proved to be one of the more thrilling encounters this season, with emphasis on team basketball at both ends.
Across the pond on the same night in the NBA, only one team failed to reach the 100-point mark on a night where six-games were played.
Once such contest included the New York Knicks putting up 143 points in their win over the Atlanta Hawks, who themselves put 120 points on the board.
The game saw the Hawks throw up 43 three-point attempts, many of which were drawn up on isolation and long range shots early in the shot clock.
Whilst the Knicks attempted a rather modest 28 three-pointers, Atlanta’s 43 tries were the same number of attempts as Panathinaikos and Fenerbahce combined in their game on Tuesday.