After leading the Selection in Gliwice and sleeping in an airport hotel in Krakow, Sergio Scariolo flew back to the United States on Monday to continue his work at the Raptors. Earlier, he spoke with AS. Happy for the two victories and the image that the new Selection (“lighter”) of Windows gave, and attentive to the impact of the possible signing of Pau Gasol for Barça. The Italian is cautious with Pau, admits some concern about Rudy, and illusion for Ricky and Álex Abrines …
It has to be the first question. What does it mean to you on a professional and personal level that Pau Gasol is going to play basketball again at Barça?
Well, I can make an official comment when it is not a rumor. I’ve never done it and I’m not going to do it now. I can only repeat that, whether in a personal capacity as a friend or in a professional capacity as a coach, I cannot wish for anything other than to see him play official games with continuity and a good level, at Barça or in the team he considers. Hopefully we can see him soon and I repeat, continuously, at a good level. I’m not talking about Pau from 2015, obviously. People must understand that you have to be patient and support the efforts that Pau is making and see what he can achieve. Hopefully, a good level in this final part of the season.
Had he lost hope with Pau?
No, because there always is. Obviously, being in Tokyo involves playing a few months of competition in a team.
He offered a very young list, 25 years on average, and the result has been great. Merit victories against Poland and Israel In this Window were you already looking at the qualifying phase of the 2023 World Cup?
I’m really happy because there is a generational change. It is time to turn the pages, with younger people. The eye is already set on the future. In addition, we are beginning to realize that what has been done with the quarry is beginning to bear fruit. We will have to take into account what we have seen. I don’t want to put a chronological limit, but we need to speed up a bit. There is a reality that we have to assume and that is that we have a Winter Selection and a Summer Selection. They have interchangeability, but also a life of their own.
Talk about summer and winter selections. But of those two players like Alocen, Sergi Martinez, even Abalde remain in a kind of limbo. Are you worried they may not know the method?
Of course they would need it and it would be good for them, but they are playing. I would be more concerned if they were players sentenced to the bench. I thank their coaches for giving them minutes.
He is closely watching the Spaniards in the NBA from his assistant chair at the Raptors. What sketch do you make?
The most continuous, without a doubt, has been Ibaka. With an established role in his team and that leads a constant line. Meanwhile, Marc has adapted to a different role with his usual intelligence. From top prominence in Memphis he went to an intermediate role in the Raptors; And now it has come to the Lakers, where there are players who hog the ball a lot. But he knows how to fit in there too, and he’s also a defensive rock. He’s so smart that as soon as Davis is injured, he knows how to step up and do exactly what his team demands. Ricky has experienced an unclear situation. His role has been changing, too much I think even for a franchise that is in transition. D’Angelo Russell’s injury has given him more prominence and he has played well. Recently against us, for example, he already played a very good game.
Are you worried about these ups and downs of Ricky with a view to the Games? He is World Cup MVP …
Frankly, no. I know him and I have no doubts. In addition, by recovering Chacho we can have a complete versatile base position.
Let’s continue with the review. The Hernangómez …
Well, Juancho’s situation is also not very specific and it depends on what happens to the others to play more or less … Let’s hope he stabilizes. And then there’s Willy, who no one doubts statistically when he enters. The hope is that you take advantage of the time you have to improve on the weak points. Have continuity. And I am optimistic about him. For now, Hayes has returned and he has remained and that is very important. Now that progress in defensive strength is in his hands, in that work that is less seen in statistics.
For Rudy to not be able to play a Cup final, things have to be very bad. Are you worried about how you can get to the Tokyo Games?
Well, I have a little concern. Because I know him well and I know how he suffers with this back that has given him so many episodes. I’ve seen it bent in certain passages and you know how bad it is. And if you see that he doesn’t play, he can’t. There is concern, it is obvious. But hopefully things can be resolved. Your team is dosing it a lot, avoiding the risk of overload.
There was a proper name in the Cup, Álex Abrines. Able to not miss a triple in the entire tournament, but also to stop Carroll. A player who, fine, seems total. And what is missing a great tournament with the National Team.
Yes, of course Álex has found a personal and professional maturity. He has shown that he is more than just a shooter, no matter how much it defines him. Already in the NBA he had shown signs of this defensive evolution. He had it, and now he can stabilize it. That can make you the total player that you are capable of being.
There is a format change at the Games. Does it fill you up?
It would not have touched the two groups of six. I don’t like the concept of best third party. I did not see exorbitant playing two more games in the first phase. But then there is a draw seems good to me. Now we have to know when they will ask us to be in Tokyo and with what teams and where we can go playing friendlies.
What did you want to bring back to the United States from Poland?
Although it goes unnoticed and does not have much impact because the classification was resolved, it is the first step of a new generation of players. We have to show adaptability and talent. And enter our competitive DNA. Because this team competes every possession and, there is a moment, when it competes per se. It is in our nature. Beyond that we play a medal in a Games, or a World Cup, our thing is to compete. In addition, we are going towards a time when we will not have the greats of these times. You have to face an evolution that will go through playing higher, faster, taking more risks. So you have to enhance this game. That is why these games are important.
So are we going to a new model?
This is like the generational change that has been so often wanted to label. This is not that ten go in and ten out. We are going to remove what does not suit the players who come; and incorporating what does suit them. In short, speed and pace. Yes it will be a lighter team. It is the law of life, because we are destined to lose Pau and Marc, who have marked an era.
It is his third year as an assistant in Toronto. Are you still having a good time or do you feel some wear and tear?
I don’t feel wear. We are in a team with different characteristics than the one that was champion, which is making its way and then, if we are in the playoffs, it will fight for our configuration. I’m comfortable, although the NBA is a tough competition and this year, more so. The demand is brutal, up to five games a week are being played.