By Panos Katsiroumpas/ email@example.com
Barcelona made a great signing in their effort to add athleticism and energy ahead of the new season. They included the Spanish international Victor Claver on their roster, a player whom Panathinaikos also fought hard to get.
Claver is a first move so that Georgios Bartzokas’s team can acquire players with energy, something that has been sorely missing from the Catalans in recent years, who despite their quality, were characterized as a soft team that could almost never come up with any answers when things got tough.
The Spanish forward might not have been the ultimate star in Lokomotiv Kuban’s course to Berlin, but he turned out to be an important instrument that could provide solutions in a variety of ways, making his teammates’ lives easier in basic areas of the game.
Who he is
Claver made an impression from very early on in European basketball, since from the age of 18 he was showcased as one of the next big things in Spanish basketball. Despite this, mostly due to the way he played, he never became a really big star, at least in terms of stats, but instead became a very useful role player who can contribute in numerous parts of the game.
He stayed with the team where he came of age from 2006 until 2012, appearing in all the big tournaments of European basketball, but also became a member of the men’s national team of Spain from a young age, winning three gold medals in the EuroBasket. In 2012 ha made the big step to the NBA and the Blazers. In his first year there he had a good season, but in the following two years he got very few playing minutes. Last year he got close to signing with Baskonia but in the end he signed with Lokomotiv Kuban, a choice that proved to be the correct one judging by the year that he had with the team from Krasnodar.
What he can offer
The Spanish forward is not what we would call a star or the player who’s going to carry the team as a leader. But he is a player who can contribute in many important parts of the game, like scoring or rebounding, but he’s also going to contribute in many other parts that are not visible to the eye, or the statistics, but that are extremely important in the way the game is played now. His big advantage is his athleticism, something that affects his game on several fronts. He’s excellent in transition on both sides of the court, while he has a flair for the defensive, but mainly the offensive rebound. He plays in the 3 position but also in the 4, spending most of the time in the 4. From there, he can open up the court since he has a rather good shooting ability. He’s not the kind of player who prefers to make individual plays, but will get his attempts through team collaborations. He blocks well in the gaps in defense and has pretty good finishes, mainly thanks to his athleticism.
He hasn’t improved on his offense with the ball on the floor, but facing slower opponents he tries to strike through his speed, looking to score.
In defense he is a great tool with very few weaknesses. He’s a watchdog in one-on-one marking, provides help quickly and at the right timing, he’s excellent in close out defenses, while he’s also a good rim protector when his opponents find lanes to the basket. One weakness is in the part of defending the post when he plays in the 4 position, something that is attributable to his fairly light frame.
In any case though, the way he can contribute with his talent in Barcelona is multidimensional and the positives of this signing are many. He might not have developed into a superstar as he was touted, but in the hands of coach Bartzokas it’s certain that he’s going to be more than useful and his contribution and talent are going to be constantly on display throughout the season.