The new era of the Chris Paul-less Clippers has begun. Last week, international man of mystery Milos Teodosic, a native of Serbia, signed a two-year, $12.3 million deal to join forces with DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin in Los Angeles. The question is: Who is this guy?
For nearly a decade, Teodosic has been tearing up the European pro basketball circuit, and many have gone as far as calling him the best non-NBA player in the world. Last summer in the Olympics, on the worldwide stage where many casual fans got a chance to see him for the first time, he backed up the hype. And then some.
Milos Teodosic has been thrilling crowds with his play for the Serbian team as well as CSKA Moscow for years, and finally the Los Angeles Clippers have brought him over to showcase his skills for an American crowd that probably has no idea what he can do.
Playing against Team USA didn’t phase him. Teodosic put in work in Serbia’s three-point defeat against a team stocked with NBA All-Stars, showing his ability to play on basketball’s highest level.
New Clipper Patrick Beverley, who played with Teodosic in Greece, told ESPN, “He might be the best passer in the NBA right now. His IQ for the game is different than I've ever seen. He's got a different swag about him. That boy can play”.
Teodosic has made passing an art form with his ability to guide the ball into the tightest of spaces, seemingly bending it to his will. You can’t help but think of Jason Williams and Ricky Rubio when watching his highlights. Last year he averaged 6.8 assists a game for CSKA Moscow and at least three of them would leave the crowd stunned.
Teodosic feasts in pick and roll situations, which is why his transition to the NBA should be seamless. His ability to craft a pass into the roll man’s hands creates easy buckets for his teammates. Also, he’s a 38% shooter from the three-point line, which forces defenders to play higher on him, which establishes space for his teammates and opens up opportunities to drive to the basket.
His glaring weakness is that he’s limited defensively. Players constantly blow by him, and on the defensive end, he makes James Harden looks like Kawhi Leonard. In the NBA, where almost every team has a skilled point guard, he’ll be a defensive liability. The Clippers should be able to compensate somewhat by switching off with defensive dynamo Patrick Beverley, along with having exceptional big man DeAndre Jordan providing help defense.
Serbia 91-94 USA
Teodosic looks like a solid fit for the Clippers. Losing Chris Paul, the team's main facilitator and one of the greatest point guard talents the game has ever witnessed, created a huge gap that the front office had to replace. Teodosic will keep the ball moving, which will make his teammates happy and result in some plays that are guaranteed to blow up your Twitter feed.
Chris Paul might be gone, but with Teodosic bringing his unique flair, remarkable vision and his rare abilities as a passer that some deem to be the world's best, Lob City isn’t going anywhere.