March 24, 2011
Logically, it will be Jeremy Richardson who steps into the void vacated by Claver. Richardson has struggled with injuries of his own thus far this season, and was out of favour early, an oft-rumoured candidate for being released. However, he has played much better since returning from injury than he did before suffering it, has won the team back over, and is now being leaned upon to provide the shooting on the wings that no one else really offers. Pietrus is also on hand for an expanded role, providing the athleticism and defense lost with Claver, if not the offensive game. Meanwhile, Augustine's loss is offset by Savanovic, who is simply the superior player. Savanovic is a hugely talented inside/outside offensive player, with post footwork, passing sense and touch to compensate a strong perimeter jumpshot. Unlike Augustine, and indeed half the team, Savanovic can regularly create his own shot, and is frequently called upon to do so in the Valencia offense. And the rebounding and defensive ends, where Savanovic is less productive (and less interested), are covered by the centre duo of Javtokas and incumbent Sergiy Lischuk, the latter of whom in particular has had a fine season. The two provide the tough aggressive interior defense and shotblocking otherwise lacking on the roster, and in theory, a two centre lineup featuring the two of them will feature at least some of the time in Augustine's absence. It will be easier to do this if Lischuk can rediscover the three point range he used so often last season (33 makes on the year), and so little in this one (2).