March 24, 2011
Up front, Ksistof Lavrinovic is not as good as he was, but he still has plenty to give. He retains decent athleticism for a 7 footer on the wrong side of 30, can still drive the ball, crashes the glass in his never-boxing-out way, and can effectively defend both the interior and the perimeter with his combination of size and speed. As always, he is guilty of trying to do too much, turning it over at a high rate and all-too-often resorting to a three point shot he hits at only 27%, and not being always engaged defensively. Yet his inside-outside production remains, and is complimented nicely by Magic draftee Milovan Rakovic. Rakovic was always rugged, but he's put on even more muscle, and is now what can only be described as freaking enormous. He is agile for that size, too, and a versatile offensive player, hitting mid-range jumpshots, running the pick-and-roll, and creating in the post, all with a graceful fluidity of motion and imposingly scary size. He also defends the pick-and-roll better than most big men, particularly those that big. So does Shaun Stonerook, who is now into his sixth season with the team, and one of its defensive leaders. Unless it's a wide open layup or an open three from the wings, Stonerook never shoots. Instead, he's in there to offer similar defensive versatility to Lavrinovic and Rakovic, while being better than both. Stonerook can guard any 3's, 4's or 5's, is a good passer and rebounder, and gambles judiciously for big steals numbers. His defensive aggression and versatility drives the team, although it's not without the consequence of hefty foul rates. Behind them, 7'1 journeyman Deji Akindele was brought in as injury cover, and survives to this day as a little-used shotblocker and rebounder.
December 28, 2009
- Ayodeji Akindele
In keeping with the theme in this post, Akindele WAS in Spain, and is not any more. Akindele signed with Xacobeo BluSens Obradoiro in the ACB in the summer, but he never played for the team after failing his physical due to a meniscus injury. He has not signed elsewhere since. Xacobeo replaced him with Mike Higgins, who is 43 years old in two months time, yet who is apparently more able to play that Deji is right now. Tough break, but he'll be fine.