Los Angeles Clippers guard Milos Teodosic has only played in the NBA for two preseason games and he already has fans buzzing with what his first season may have in store.
As basketball fans woke up on Wednesday morning, many were left speechless after watching some of the highlight-reel passes he unleashed against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night in an exhibition game played in Hawaii. The two plays that have social media talking included a full-court underhand pass and a behind-the-back pass to Patrick Beverley.
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“He does stuff sometimes where you are impressed,” Blake Griffin told reporters Tuesday night. “That underhand fullcourt shovel pass or whatever you want to call it was crazy. I saw it in practice one time and it surprised me and it surprised me even more tonight. I expect to see a lot of stuff like that out of him.”
Of course, both games Teodosic has appeared in are exhibition games and won’t count toward his season stats at the end of the year, but he’s beginning to show the NBA world what he’s made of. Fans of European basketball already know a lot about Teodosic and are familiar with his game.
But for a casual NBA fan, many are still wondering, who exactly is Teodosic?
Teodosic, 30, signed a two-year, $12.3 million deal with the Clippers in the offseason after spending the past 10 seasons playing in Europe. He had stints with Olympiacos and CSKA Moscow and is regarded by many to be among the best passers in the world. He averaged 14.1 points and 6.4 assists in 50 total games last season for CSKA Moscow.
A former CSKA Moscow teammate, Aaron Jackson, believes Teodosic will be among the best passers in the NBA this season. He even received votes from NBA general managers in the 2017-18 GM Survey as the league’s best passer. Jackson also believes that Teodosic can compete for the Rookie of the Year award this year.
“I really think Milos is the best pick-and-roll point guard in the NBA after Chris Paul,” Aaron Jackson told Basketball Insiders in August. “Milos is Steve Nash. He has that ability to play at a high level because he’s so smart. I think he’s going to be the Rookie of the Year next year. [Lonzo] Ball is in a situation where he’s going to play a lot and have stats so he could win, but I think the Clippers are going to have a good record. Milos is going to play good and push for Rookie of the Year. If you combine Patrick Beverley and Milos, it’s like Chris Paul. There is not going to be anything major where they’ll fall off. They’re going to be real happy with him.”
Many NBA executives have believed for a long time that Teodosic could potentially become a great player in the NBA. In last year’s NBA GM Survey, he was voted as the best international player not in the NBA. Although he has totaled just four points, 13 assists, two rebounds and two steals in nearly 50 minutes of game time, many believe may eventually become a capable starter for the Clippers.
By all accounts, it appears as though Teodosic is fitting in well with his teammates so far. Many believe that the team may not take that much of a step back after trading Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets. With his experience overseas, those skills seem to be translating over to the NBA game quite well through two preseason games.
“I don’t understand what he says half of the time, but I know when he passes it, he’s amazing,” DeAndre Jordan told reporters Tuesday night. “He’s probably one of the best playmaking passing point guards that I’ve played with and I’ve played with some great guys. He gets everybody involved and is awesome to play with.”
As the Clippers move on from Paul running the offense, many wondered if the team would continue its “Lob City” style of play that they have made so famous over the years. Based on what we’ve seen in two games from Beverley and Teodosic at the point guard position, it doesn’t appear “Lob City” will be going away anytime soon.
“I don’t think we ever lost that,” Jordan said. “We have guys who can make passes like that. You have guys like myself, Blake, Willie [Reed] and Montrezl [Harrell] rollin’ [to the basket] and able to play above the rim. It’s good that we added guys like Pat and Milos and Austin [Rivers] is capable of that.”
Of course, it has only been two games for the Clippers and they still have a lot of work to do this season. They are tasked with integrating at least seven new players into the lineup and getting everyone on the same page. The preseason trip to Hawaii was a chance for the new players to get to know each other and help build chemistry.
It remains to be seen if the Clippers will be able to continue their playoff run with a new cast of players on the roster, but they figure to at least be entertaining to watch in the process.
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