The goal for so long had been for Milos Teodosic to take his immense talents to the NBA after years of being called the best player in Europe not to play in the association.
Ten years of Teodosic throwing beautiful and amazing passes overseas went by before he decided to bring those skills to the Clippers.
But now that he is here in the league playing for L.A., there will be pressure on Teodosic to perform at the same high level he exhibited playing for Olympiakos and CSKA Moscow.
“I don’t know if there is added pressure for him,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
“He came over here for a reason to prove that he can play and be great over here. We’re really looking forward to him this season. We’re hoping he’s right.”
Teodosic finished with eight assists in the Clippers’ 121-113 exhibition loss to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night at Stan Sheriff Center. He scored just one point on a free throw, missing all five of his attempts.
Even though it was an exhibition game, Teodosic has realized his dream of playing in the NBA.
He had signed a two-year, $12.3-million deal with the Clippers over the summer.
“I decided long time ago that I wanted to play in the NBA, but I didn’t have that much chances because I was always under contract and I was not free agent,” Teodosic said. “This summer I was free and the first big opportunity was here with the Clippers.”
Next, Teodosic threw an underhanded scoop pass to Blake Griffin (18 points) inside for a basket.
The pass that really excited the fans was when Teodosic threw a look-ahead lob to a running Jordan for a dunk in the second quarter that had their teammates leaping off the bench and shaking their heads in acknowledgment of his vision.
“Everybody that can score catches up to a passer,” Rivers said. “There’s no coincidence that when Milos is on the floor, DJ turns into Usain Bolt and was running down the floor full speed, because he wants to give you the ball.”
All throughout training camp here, the Clippers had raved about Teodosic’s passing ability, about how he sees the court so well, about how he finds open teammates.
He led the Euro League in assists last season playing for CSKA Moscow, averaging 6.8 per game.
Clippers lock arms
In a show of solidarity, the Clippers and Toronto Raptors both locked arms during the playing the national anthem and Canadian anthem Sunday night.
Several NBA teams have done the same thing during the exhibition season.
“We haven’t really talked about it,” Rivers said. “I think guys were doing it tonight.
“When the real first game starts, we may do something else. We may not. We don’t know yet.”