The most experienced player on the Colorado Buffaloes will have to come off the bench this season. Lucas Siewert, one of two seniors on the team, is way overqualified to be a fourth big on a contending team, but that’s where we are, health permitting.
Throughout Siewert’s career, he has proved himself as a legitimate stretch big who does enough on defense to play the five. He’s a capable shooter whose real value is without the ball. Tad Boyle uses him to stand at the top of the arc, set screens and pass the ball from on top. Rarely does he ever move outside of that area because that’s where he’s most effective. Defensively, his value is being in the right spot. He’s not going to make defensive highlights but he has to rotate, communicate and box out.
There are times Siewert has won games almost by himself. If the defense is going to give him space, he can take his shots and get hot, as he did to save the Buffs from losing to Cal last year. The downside, however, is that he’s a very streaky player who can lose all confidence and decisiveness for weeks at a time. In those instances, all his offensive impact goes out the window because teams won’t respect his jumper.
Last season, we had to ride out Siewert’s streakiness because the Buffs were out of options. Dallas Walton tore his ACL before the season and Evan Battey was still adjusting to major college basketball. Now Walton is healthy and Battey is better than ever. Walton makes sense as the starting center next to Tyler Bey, mostly for defensive purposes. Battey is the perfect sixth man whose playmaking will buoy the second unit, and he will still play a large amount with the starters. Bey, meanwhile, is going to play every minute he can.
That means Siewert will go from starter to second big off the bench. That demotion could be a blessing for both the team and the Brazilian forward. When Siewert’s name is called, it means he is entering the game to hit shots and space the floor — not much more, not much less. Siewert can still win games with his hot shooting. If he’s hitting shots and playing heady defense, that’s a valuable player who will stay on the floor. The difference with CU’s depth is that the team isn’t bogged down by his bad games, because they have other options, including Alex Strating, the most trusted 11th man in the country.
It can be hard for a former starter take a step back in his senior season, but for Siewert, this role will let him focus on what he does best. Perhaps it will lead to a new confidence for him, a simplification that asks him to stop thinking and just let it fly. If this change unlocks his consistency, the Buffs will have two quality bigs on the floor every second (health permitting) against an undersized Pac-12 Conference.
Most Important Buffaloes:
10. Eli Parquet, PG
9. Maddox Daniels, SF
8. Lucas Siewert, PF/C
7. Dallas Walton, C
6. Daylen Kountz, SG/PG
5. Shane Gatling, SG
4. Evan Battey, PF/C
3. D’Shawn Schwartz, SF
2. Tyler Bey, PF
1. McKinley Wright, PG