Another measure of the Tavares Effect is to listen to a couple of players talk about it. Jake Cohen of Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv and his former teammate Michael Roll did a pilot episode for an upcoming EuroLeague TV feature for subscribers in which they commented live while watching the EuroLeague between Olympiacos Piraeus and Real Madrid last week. They had this pre-game conversation about Tavares:
Cohen: "Is there a guy that you've played against that has been more disruptive defensively than Walter Tavares?"
Roll: "Absolutely not. The guy is just - he takes up the whole paint. It's like as soon as you even sniff the paint out there, he's close. He's in the back of your head if you're going to shoot or anything like that. Everyone who's been out there knows, he's just the anchor. They send everything to him, so he's a problem for everybody."
Cohen: "Yeah, he's so annoying to play against. First of all, any time I step inside the three-point line, I think he's going to block my shot. And even outside the three-point line. You know, I've played some pick-and-pop and stuff against him, and I think, 'I've got a ton of space to shoot this.' And he still almost gets it or contests it really well, but man, what a game-changer he is defensively. Offensively, he's a very good player, too, but defensively, he just changes how you need to approach the game."
Roll: "A lot of the times I felt before that most teams didn't play in a drop coverage, and I felt he was the first drop big I played against in the EuroLeague. He was different. He's not out there hedging ball screens or doubling for that matter. So him in a drop, you think you're going to be able to get the pull-up jumper, but like you said, that contest, he can seem to bet eight feet or two meets away, it doesn't matter. He's going to get his hand on it, his fingertips, or maybe make you change your shot. It's a problem."
Cohen: "What's sick is he's contesting the pull-up on the pick-and-roll but you can't throw the lob over him, either. He defends both. Normally you have to pick one. Or I'm not going to let the guy catch the lob at the rim or I'm not going to let the guard shoot a pull-up. He takes away both."
Roll: "One thing I really do like, too, is that if he's getting his hands on the ball, he's smacking that thing. He's not giving it a tap. He's letting you know, 'I'm gonna smack it off the board or smack it out of your hands, with authority, so you're going to remember this next time you come down to my area.' That's what he's telling you."
Cohen: "You're going to have some PTSD afterwards."
Roll: "That's smart though. If I'm remembering this from four years ago when he beat my shot off the glass, I mean everybody's thinking about it for multiple years."
Cohen: "I can remember when he blocked my shot a few times, so yeah, it' working."
What their comments confirm is that the Tavares Effect goes way beyond his already mind-boggling number of blocks and records to all the shots that are altered, physically and psychologically, when Real Madrid's superman is patrolling the paint.