Most people know about Harrington and Stephen Jackson, and most people dont care about Josh Powell (poor guy), but the player I could be a sleeper in the deal on our side is Sarunas Jasikevicius. Everyone is making comparisons back to the good old days when another Sarunas played for Nellie but I wanted to see the real deal, who is this Sarunas?
He was born in Kaunas Lithuania in 1976 (which makes him 30 years old this season until March 5) but managed to come over to the U.S. to play college ball in Maryland. He went undrafted when he came out for the 1998 draft, which was full of solid NBA players. He played professionally overseas and became one of the best across the Atlantic. He has been the leader of the Lithuanian national team, which has faired reasonably well over the years. His most impressive showing was a 28 point 7-3pter against the U.S. team. He has won a European basketball championship, and 2 Euroleague titles. There was a fairly noticeable buzz when he signed with Indiana a few years ago. Larry bird loved the guy, and he was a decent basketball player and probably a decent judge of talent. He averaged 7 ppg, 3 apg, and 2 rpg while playing 20.8 mpg. Not a bad line but there was a sense that he had underachieved here. He shoots about 37% from 3 and 40% from the field which isnt bad considering half his shots are 3 balls. You gotta love his 91% clip from the charity stripe, now we have a player that can step up and sink technical free throws without the fans holding their breath. His career averages are around 15 ppg and 5 apg. It is not unreasonable for him to pull off double figure scoring if he sees considerable burn for the rest of the season, which he very well could due to J-Riches injury. All the NBA.com people place him behind monta on the depth chart, but Sarunas is much closer to a pure point guard than monta is. He could end up being one of the first guys off the bench if either Baron or Monta has trouble early. Im looking for a solid season out of this guy, playing backup minutes, dropping in some clutch freethrows or 3 balls, and competing every night, because the times I say him play in Indy he did not back down from much of anything. We also get some of the experience a young team needs. The Euroleague and Olympics arent the NBA playoffs, but I will take Sarunas' experience over MDJ's NCAA championship anyday.
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