March 24, 2011
The rest of the domestic help also comes in frontcourt players alongside Fotsis; little things specialist Stratos Perperoglu gets big minutes on the wing, defending both forward spots, moving the ball, and shooting 41% from three point range. Fellow national team member Kostas Tsartsaris protects the paint, rebounds, and finishes around the basket, along with sticking the occasional jumpshot. Kostas Kaimakoglou lies somewhere between the two, and boasts a big ginger beard, despite not being a ginger. [What's the science behind that? How do non-gingers grow ginger beards? As one such genetic freak, I really would like to know.] And Ian Vougioukas, brought in from Panellinios over the summer, will provide post moves, footwork, touch, finishing ability and free throws attempts, whilst also being a complete defensive liability.
Without Spanoulis, Panathinaikos no longer have a transition game. They are not as good as they have been in years past; this is particularly evident in the frontcourt, where, even when accounting for the return of Maric, the likes of Tsartsaris, Vougioukas and Kaimikoglou struggle against the continent's very best. They're lacking some playmakers who can create off the dribble - Calathes and Nicholas aren't it - and these problems are compounded by the fact that their quarter final matchup is against Barcelona, which is as hard of a matchup as there can be. That said, there's still a lot of talent to be found here, and the usual mix of toughness and physical play (Vougioukas excepted) will ensure it is competitive.