Cohen: “Tavares produces post-traumatic stress in rivals”

During the match in Kaunas against Zalgiris there was a record. Walter Tavares was placed in the first position of the list of maximum blockers in the history of the Euroleague, surpassing Bryant Dunston with more than one hundred fewer games in his legs. The Cape Verdean center has become an essential for Real Madrid, with whom he has achieved European glory and a record in Spain that is difficult to match, but it is the effect he produces in the game that attracts the most attention from the players who compete with him more than cold data.

For a new project Euro League TV Michael Roll and Jake Cohen have come together in which, in their pilot, they analyze Madrid’s confrontation with Olympiacos in Piraeus (another loss for the Whites) to focus on Tavares.

“Is there a guy you’ve played against who has been more disruptive on defense than Tavares?”says Cohen. “Absolutely not. It just blows everything in the paint. It is as if, as soon as you smell her, you already know that she is going to clog you. If you are going to throw, you have it on the neck. Everyone who’s been there knows it: he’s just the receiver, they send everything to him, so that’s the main problem.”Roll replies. “Yes, it is very annoying to play against him. First of all, every time I get inside the perimeter I think he’s going to block my shot. But even outside the three-point line. I’ve played pick-and-pop and things like that against him, and I always think, ‘I’ve got a lot of space to shoot.’ And yet he almost makes it or fights it well, but man, what a game changer it is defensively. He’s good in attack too, but defensively it just changes the way you have to play.”adds Cohen.

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“The thing that makes you sick is that he’s playing a pull-up on the pick-and-roll but you can’t bomb him over the top either. He defends both situations. Normally you have to choose one. He’ll probably take her both ways.”

“One thing I also like is that he hits her if she gets her hands on the ball. She’s not just giving it a touch, she’s letting you know one thing: ‘I’m going to kick her off the board or beat her, with authority, so you’ll remember it the next time you come to my zone.’ That’s what she’s telling you.”Roll adds. “You’re going to have PTSD after everything you went through with him. But I can remember it when he has done it to me, and several times, so the strategy is working ”says Cohen.

The Euroleague also offers other data that speaks of Tavares’ milestone. He leads in blocks and the next on the list this season is Georgios Papagiannis (Panathinaikos) with a distance between them of 55 to 27, more than double. Those 2.8 blocks on average are the highest since the 2000/01 and 2001/02 seasons, when Grigorij Khizhnyak (Zalgiris) scored 3.2 in both but only playing thirteen games also as a scale. At the rate ‘Edy’ is going, he only needs five more games to beat the mark of a single campaign, the one set by Ekpe Udoh (Fenerbahçe) in 2016/17.

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