March 24, 2011
The starting backcourt consistently consists of Ricky Rubio and Juan Carlos Navarro. Navarro has lost nothing; his assault of jumpshots and floaters still reigns supreme, and is still good for 14.8 points per game in only 26 minutes per contest, on 46% shooting. Rubio, though, seems to be suffering from stagnated growth. The improvements shown last season in his feet-set jumpshooting have completely disappeared, and for the season he is shooting 19 of 92 from three point range across Euroleague and ACB play. He is, amazingly, still only 20 years of age, the most experienced 20 year old in the basketball world, the only 20 year old point guard to have been a key component on both a Eurobasket and Euroleague champion in the past 18 months. And he's still very good. The transition, the passing vision, the defense on point guards, and the pick-and-roll assault, are in as full of a force as always. But he's more Brevin Knight than Steve Nash at this point, and will be until such time that he can consistently make open shots. It looked as though his jumper was getting there, but he's regressed at what was already his biggest weakness, and it's a concern. Once he's fixed that leaky dam, he can begin working on creating his own shot and shooting off the dribble.
Whatever scoring slack Rubio drops, however, Lakovic promptly picks up. Despite the relatively poor percentages he's shot this year, Lakovic is one of the tournament's best shooters, somewhat streaky at times but able to change a game when he's on. Lakovic is also a capable ball handler and pick-and-roll playmaker, although he's less than half of the defender Rubio is. When paired alongside Navarro, an equally threatening yet more consistent shooter, Barcelona's backcourt can be bloody hard to stop.
April 1, 2010
- Jaka Lakovic
Slovenian international guard Lakovic is with Barcelona for his fourth straight season. His numbers are down across the board, but competing against a little known player called Ricky Rubio for playing time might have something to do with that. Lakovic is averaging 7.0 points and 1.3 assists per game in the Euroleague, alongside 5.5 points and 1.4 assists per game in the Spanish ACB. Barcelona currently lead the ACB with a 25-2 record, with Real Madrid in second at 22-5; the two are also matched up in the last 8 of Euroleague, where, as of last night, Barcelona have a 2-1 lead in the series. Real Madrid's complete and total roster turnover is going to take another year before the cement dries.