Steve Kerr said it best when summing up the value of Andrew Bogut, declaring "he just kind of made the whole thing work".
It's a neat way of describing the newly-retired centre's role in the Boomers and highlights the big issue facing new coach Brian Goorjian ahead of next year's Olympics.
Golden State Warriors coach Kerr saw Bogut's genius as a clever defender and even more astute passer around the rim, who was able to create for and complement stars like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on the way to an NBA title in 2015.
Bogut did the same for Boomers' scorers Patty Mills and Joe Ingles at last year's World Cup, where the side lost a semi-final in double overtime to Spain and then coughed up a lead in the bronze medal game to finish fourth.
The result followed a similarly gutting fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympics that continued the Boomers' quest for a maiden international medal.
Tokyo 2020 was set to be the core group's final shot at medal glory but the Games' 12-month COVID-19 delay proved a bridge too far for three-time Olympian Bogut, who debuted at the Games in Athens 2004 and will be nearing 37 by then.
"He is a revered and iconic Boomer and whilst he would have loved to join the team in Tokyo his decision to step away is selfless in many ways," Goorjian said.
"His body has taken a toll, he knows it and it validates his team-first mentality as a legendary Boomer."
Former Boomers coach Andre Lemanis said coaching the centre was "one of the greatest experiences of his life" while Kerr described him as "one of the best defensive centres in the league, a brilliant passer, a great teammate and a champion".
The Boomers are well-stocked with forwards, Aron Baynes coming off a career-best NBA season and publicly committed to Tokyo after signing with the Toronto Raptors.
Thon Maker, a 213cm three-point shooter, Jock Landale, Nick Kay, Jonah Bolden, Brock Motum and Will Magnay are all impressive front-court options for Goorjian, but none offer the same sleight of hand as Bogut.
His presence off court will be equally hard to replace, says Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates.
"Andrew was so much more than a big man, he had an aura about him," Coates, who was also chef de mission when Bogut made his Olympic debut, said.
"He was an inspirational figure for the Australian Olympic team ... this is not just a loss for basketball in Australia but a loss for the Australian Olympic movement."
Australian Associated Press