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Monday, October 20, 2008
Josh Childress on Life in Greece


Great interview, that I somehow missed when it was new a few days ago, with the former Hawk who is playing for Olympiacos.

He talks about money, the process of going to Europe, how nice the team is to him, and how a lot of NBA players seem to be interested in how it's going for him.

He also talks about the difference in the European game. In Europe, he says, there is much more of an emphasis on doing the things that actually win games, instead of scoring points.

For instance, Childress tells Pete Thamel of The New York Times:

In the N.B.A., your top guys like LeBron and Kobe average 40-plus minutes a game. Here, I might average 27. That's how he operates. The games here are 40 minutes. I think people get things a little skewed when they see the numbers and how guys are scoring.

It's tougher to score here. There's no defensive three seconds. They play zone. There's all kinds of ways that make it tougher to score; the game is a lot more physical. It's more of a team game. It's a little more evenly spread. Like you said, 15 points in 27 minutes is a good number.

But that's not important. The guys that score big numbers here are on bad teams. The M.V.P. of the Euroleague last year, Theodoros Papaloukas, he's on our team now. He may average 10 points and 5, 6, 7 assists. They really look at who changes the game, who is the most valuable for their team. Not just who puts up 30. So it's a different mind-set.

Last game against Tel Aviv, after the game I was a little down. I had some missed opportunities. We still won, but as a competitor I want to do my best. Papaloukas comes up to me and says: "Hey man, relax. You put your body in there and got a steal and we won the game." It's more of a thing where they appreciate the little things that you do to win games. If I had scored 30 and we lost, they probably would have been mad. I think I had 15 and I got a good steal, and it's like, "Good game."

If it really is true -- that little things that win games are more valued in Europe -- then that confirms just about every negative stereotype of American basketball development. And it fits perfectly with the message from just about every new-breed statistical expert: That scoring is overvalued here, at the expense of other things that are hugely important but less obvious.