By: Nick Gibson / @euro_adventures
Thanks to a stubborn muscle injury, Novica Velickovic won’t be suiting up for Serbia this summer. Also, we’re left to ponder the vagueness that is a muscle injury. That narrows it down to…his body, I guess. So at least we know Novica will not miss EuroBasket due to an injury sustained to another player. Which is a relief.
Omri Casspi’s diagnosis is slightly more specific: a bum knee. The starting small forward posted a team high 16.9 ppg last summer during qualifiers and is the team’s best player’ albeit on a lesser squad than Novica’s Serbia.
So I ask you…
To prime your minds before committing to the click, I’ll have a little debate with myself.
I’m voting Novica Velickovic because…
-It’s not like Israel was going anywhere even with Casspi. Serbia is coming off a silver medal in 2009 and has championship aspirations in Lithuania.
-Marko Keselj, Serbia’s most logical and capable replacement, has a broken cheekbone. A thin small forward spot is made that much flimsier with Novica’s absence.
-Novica Velickovic is a better player than Omri Casspi, more versed in the European game and devoid of the NBA’s pollution.
You’re mistaken, Other Nick. Omri’s absence will have a greater impact because…
-Velikcovic is a big loss and a great talent, but Casspi is Israel. Eliyahu and Halperin are great pieces, but Omri’s the best player on this team. Serbia is loaded with stars, with or without Novica.
-Israel’s slim chance of advancing out of Group B swirls down the drain without Omri. Whereas Italy, France, Germany and Israel all had realistic hopes of joining Serbia in the next round, Omri’s injury has hacked that group of four down to three.
-Omri Casspi is a better than Novica Velickovic, having been seasoned for two years in the world’s bet league, the NBA.