Amaya Valdemoro: “Doncic is changing basketball”
Talk about basketball with Amaya valdemoro (Alcobendas, Madrid, 1976) is to do it with one of the most renowned voices on the Spanish scene. Legend of the Spanish national team, winner of the WNBA or Euroleague throughout her career, she now combines the role of commentator with that of Betfair ambassador. Amaya attended OKDIARIO to review the current situation of the basket sport, with special emphasis on Real Madrid and Barcelona projects and in the evolution of Luka Doncic.
Question: Doncic was recently chosen as a member of the NBA’s first ideal team, at only 21 years old. Where is your roof?
Reply: In the MVP and in winning many rings. In changing basketball, I honestly believe that he is changing it. He has reached a league where everything is muscle, jumping, speed with his reading ability, timing and his talent. He is astonishing everyone, we do not know his ceiling but of course if you think about everything he has done you cannot imagine him without winning MVP or rings.
Q: We are talking about the best in the world. What can influence Doncic to take that MVP? How long could it take?
A: It depends on him but also on the team around him. He has Porzingis but it has been seen that he lacks a veteran uncle, who is hardened. I don’t know, two or three years? If you look at the season how it started, the stoppage and the bubble and Doncic is another player. They were talking about competing for the MVP because we were seeing what he was doing in the bubble, which far exceeds the atrocities he did before his ankle injury. I say two or three years, maybe they will give me, but in the United States if you are a foreigner it costs a little more, but Steve Nash, Nowitzki have been awarded… but not so young.
Q: Is there a way to stop Doncic or is it mission impossible?
A: I think that when you have such a good player in front of you, he can have a bad day and you think that you have defended him well. You can reduce what it brings to the game, but it is very difficult to cancel it. You can prevent it from going triple double.
Q: Clippers and Bucks have been eliminated and surprises like the Heat or the Nuggets are one step away from the final. Will we continue to see surprises in the NBA?
A: Surprises, it has nothing to do with it. I also consider that Lakers without Rondo and how he was starting, for me it is also being a surprise. We are seeing great basketball and I am having a pirate time watching the games because I think that the Eastern Conference the two teams that have gone through are playing marvelously. The Miami thing has me totally in love, the Nuggets what they have done is spectacular … I give favorites to the Lakers but anything can happen
Q: Real Madrid started the season by winning, the Super Cup and with Campazzo as the undisputed leader. However, the point guard has one foot outside the club.
A: If Facu leaves, Madrid of course is going to lose. For the involvement he has in the team, for the great talent and the player that he is. Taking out such a player is very difficult to replace him. But if you look at Madrid in recent years, the point guard who had been MVP has always gone away. Llull, Chacho, Doncic … and he has overcome this situation, but of course, this situation would come in the middle of the season. But hey, there is a lot of talk and it is still not known what is going to happen.
Q: Do you think Real Madrid will go to the market if Campazzo leaves?
A: It is something that I have also thought. Real Madrid often have such a solid block that if they don’t see something in the market that can contribute to them, I think they will throw away what they have. There is Alocén, Laprovittola, they have four players who can replace Campazzo, but there you have to get into Laso’s head and whatever is free, because I understand that what remains would be in the NBA market.
Q: Real Madrid has moved with Alocén and above all, Abalde as news. What impact can the Galician have throughout the season?
A: Abalde can play whatever he wants. He is a tremendous piece of player and I was incredibly surprised by how well he has adapted to Madrid, the few failures he has had, the decision making, the effectiveness he has had … he is a player that I, personally, would ask him as he is doing now and little by little he was more aggressive towards the basket. But he is already saying it in his statements, that he is there for whatever they ask him, it was a dream for him to go to Madrid and he is taking advantage of the opportunity.
Q: Barça started the season with another final, but they still haven’t won a title.
A: It is a team that is made to win titles. They didn’t win them last year and I think this year they will do everything possible. We have seen it, Jasikevicius gives another air to the team, only defensively and the activity they have is extraordinary. At the end you are in a competition in which you have Real Madrid, which we all know competes incredible, how many years have they been saying that they are not going to win and they keep winning. We have to enjoy these years of rivalry, we must not forget that with Pesic they won the Cup, but I do think they are under pressure to win a title.
Q: Spain has won a World Cup, but players of the stature of Alocén, Garuba and Aldama stand out below. Is another generation of gold coming?
A: A few days ago there was a year of the world championship that there were no longer participants of the generation of 80, they said that if they could, that if not … and they won against the forecast. One of the things that is being done well from the Federation or that we have within is that we know how to compete very well, and there is always a mix of veterans and young people who work and teach the way, players who are winning MVPs in the sub 20 … The most important, that we have it, is having talent and knowing how to compete. And Spain has it both in female and male, because I think the other countries are up to the cap of Spain.
Q: Pau and Marc have been pillars in the best generation of Spanish basketball, but now they are not going through their best moment for different reasons …
A: The only thing I will say about Pau is that I hope he retires from the national team. It may have its detractors, but it has been the flag of Spanish basketball, it continues to be and will be, for all that it has done on a sporting and social level. For me along with Navarro I will always say that they are the best. It has been the anniversary of the championship five years ago, that Gasol did what he wanted, so hopefully he can recover and retire as what he is, a champion. I think he is a model as an athlete and as a person. Regarding Marc, in the end the bubble is a very complicated situation for any player, they have not used him as on other occasions. I don’t know how his current contract is but I think he has a lot of basketball left.
Q: Given the particular health and mobility circumstances due to the coronavirus, do you think the Euroleague can be held in its entirety?
A: Hopefully all competitions can be resumed, play and we can see everything, because it is a difficult situation. I don’t know the protocols or how the quarantines will affect the countries and hopefully the competitions can be enjoyed in all the countries.