In this week’s coaching conversation, Golden State assistant coach Dejan Milojević joins the Basketball Podcast to share insights on decision-making, rebounding, Jokić and collaborative coaching.
After his 2009 retirement from a very successful professional career Dejan Milojević became a head coach for Mega Basket of the Adriatic Basketball Association (ABA). There, he coached future NBA All-Star and NBA MVP Nikola Jokić. Milojevic had a major impact on Jokic’s basketball upbringing and is one of Jokic’s role models. Some of the reads and passes Jokic makes today were originally taught to him by Milojevic, a Serbian legend himself and three-time Adriatic League MVP who helped Yugoslavia win gold at EuroBasket 2001
In the 2015–16 season, Dejan Milojević coached Mega to their first-ever trophy, the Serbian Cup, as well as their first ABA League finals appearance. Over 345 games during eight seasons, he had a 173–172 record. During his time with Mega witnessed eleven of his Mega players receive NBA draft selection (Nikola Jokić, Vasilije Micić, Nemanja Dangubić, Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot, Ivica Zubac, Rade Zagorac, Vlatko Čančar, Ognjen Jaramaz, Alpha Kaba, Goga Bitadze, and Marko Simonović).
In 2021, he won Montenegrin League and Montenegrin Cup titles with Budućnost.
In addition to club coaching, Milojević had a coaching stint with the Serbian national team from December 2019 until September 2021, assisting head coach Igor Kokoškov.
With Golden State Dejan Milojević was tasked with working with squad members playing closer to the basket that the team deploys in stretch four, power forward, forward-center, and center positions. For Milojević, that meant primarily focusing on Golden State’s recently-drafted young center James Wiseman as well as their established squad players Draymond Green and Kevon Looney. Milojević won the NBA championship in 2022 making him the second Serbian assistant coach (after Igor Kokoškov) to win an NBA ring.
Dejan Milojević Coach Quotes:
“You can always choose what your view is about not just basketball, but life. We can find negative things in anything. I choose not to do that.”
“You cannot develop if you don’t play hard and try to win games. You cannot say to a player, ‘Okay, just go and have fun without any responsibility.’ This is not development. If you want to develop a player who is going to be successful and is going to win something, he has to have responsibility.”
“Some of the players were learning sets just for their position . . For me, playing a set and running a set, all the players should know what the goal is and what is the point of the set. So, you should know movement for any position on the court, it doesn’t matter. If you’re playing big, you should know what your point guard is doing. So, in the practices, I was mixing players at each position.”
“Skills are just a small piece that the player should be able to do. But really, development is decision making.
“Some players, especially when they’re young, they want to show off and they try so many crazy things. The hardest thing is to play simple. And even now if you talk about Nikola [Jokic] . . he’s doing so many great things, but the majority, like 80% of the things that he’s doing, are fundamentals, and then he can build up on that.”
“If you compare Kareem, Shaquille, Hakeem . . they’re very different. They don’t do the same things, they have their own unique set of skills. So, if you are developing them, you should see what is their fit and try to maximize the things that they’re good at and add one or two or three things on the side.”
“If you’re a great player, you have to do fundamentals . . that means you have to be able to finish on both sides, and you have to be a decent passer when you’re double-teamed because, if you’re not a good passer, you’re going to struggle [offensively].”
“What is development? In my opinion, you try to replicate what is happening in the game and try to practice this and try to find a solution. What is the best one in the situation when you get the ball. You replicate the game situations in practice.”
“What are coaches? We are just helpers. We try to help players maximize their potential. One of the best things and best feelings for me is when you see that somebody is doing things that you try to help him with.”
Dejan Milojević Breakdown:
1:00 – Jokić Quote
4:00 – Jokić Development
6:00 – De Facto Point Guard
8:00 – Connecting Skills and Decision
13:53 – 14:32 – JUST PLAY ADS
14:00 – Developing Passing
18:00 – Golden State System
21:00 – Game Situations
23:00 – Competition Within Practice
25:00 – Adjusting Small Details
28:00 – Small Sided Games
33:00 – Beyond Passing
35:27 – 36:10 – DR. DISH ADS
37:00 – Coaching Philosophy
39:00 – Rebounding Points
42:00 – Decision Making
45:00 – European Coaching
Dejan Milojević Links from the Podcast:
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