Boomers basketball coach Brett Brown may be forced to change his team’s style for the coming world championship in Turkey after losing two of his premier big men and possibly a third.
A 15 man squad checked into a Gold Coast camp on Monday minus some heavyweight talent.
Brown was already missing 213 centimetre Milwaukee Bucks star NBA centre Andrew Bogut, but another of his NBA big men, 208 cm Nathan Jawai, was also unavailable.
Currently in the United States, Jawai is still trying to secure an NBA contract for next season and is awaiting the imminent birth of his first child.
Additionally, Brown is also sweating on the availability of 210 cm Aleks Maric, who was recently named in the Euroleague All-Star Five.
Maric, who plays in Serbia with Partizan Belgrade is resting after a lengthy European campaign.
Brown hasn’t totally ruled Maric out of his world championship squad, but admitted it was worrying Australia could undertake its world championship campaign without three of their leading big men.
“Of course you worry when you are not able to put your best team on the floor, but that’s part of coaching,” Brown told AAP.
“You take the team that you are given and you’ve got to find a way to make it work.
“Nathan Jawai is going through a situation where he’s going to become a father for the first time and trying to secure employment.
“Everyone believes that it’s in his best interest to stay back and take care of business for those things.
“Aleks Maric had an All-European season and he’s a great team mate and an excellent player and there is still a chance that he will put his hand up and make himself available.
“But after a long 10 month season in Europe, he’s just trying to go slowly.”
Brown said the absence of Bogut, Jawai and Maric would significantly hurt Australia’s chances of playing a traditional style of basketball featuring a legitimate centre and he might have to reconsider fielding a team based more on mobility and finesse if all three were unavailable.
“If Maric is available you look at a style that I originally intended on playing with Aleks and Andrew Bogut,” he said.
“If Maric, Jawai and Bogut aren’t available, we’ll have to reassess the style and it would be a more mobile, free flowing style to exploit mobility instead of (having) a man in the middle, a legitimate low post target.”
Brown still has one quality experienced centre left in 212 cm Houston NBA player David Andersen while the squad also contains promising youngsters in 216 cm Luke Nevil, 211 cm AJ Ogilvy.
Following the camp, the Boomers will head to China for their defence of the prestigious Stankovic Cup, where they have been drawn against China, Slovenia and Iran.
They return to Australia for a final training camp in Melbourne before leaving for Europe where they will play a four nations tournament in France against that country, Ivory Coast and Brazil in the lead up to the start of their world championship campaign starting on August 28.