A few words about the game, followed by some praise for Jonas’ WHOA BOY! line (17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks)

Watching the Raptors nowadays is like watching a Fast & Furious movie; you know exactly what you’re getting (RIP Paul Walker).

Take today’s game. The Raptors went up against a superior (read: from the Western Conference) foe and the better team won. The Raptors jumped on the Nuggets early (which makes sense given that it was the equivalent of playing at 11 AM) and grabbed a 15 point lead at one point. Demar was hot early, sinking 4/6 from the field, including a three-pointer, and Jonas worked his butt off (more on this later).

Annndddddd then the familiar storylines kicked in.

  • The Raptors’ horrific bench was thoroughly outplayed by Denver’s bench (71-16 points scored in favor of Denver)
  • Gay and Derozan, stopped moving the ball and reverted to playing more iso-ball which killed the offense
  • Derozan cooled off after the first (okay, VERY COLD, he shot 1/8 after the first quarter)
  • Once Denver found their footing, they started running the Raptors out of the gym
  • Dwane Casey made some rather questionable coaching decisions

So rather than regurgitating the same narratives, I decided to be positive and focus on the only positive from this game – Jonas Valanciunas’ had his best game of the season.

[Quick Reaction: Raptors 98, Nuggets 112]

[Sign up for Winter War: RR’s 16-Team 3-on-3 Tournament in Toronto]

It’s been a frustrating season for Jonas. After finishing last year with such promise and aplomb, Jonas Christ Superstar was the lone shining star on this mishapen pick-up roster. Discussions of his promise and potential carried us Raptors fans (and aspiring bloggers) through a painfully boring off-season. Some of us dared to dream big, boldly thrusting Jonas into the conversation for “top-10 center in the NBA”. Others were more hesitant, dutifully nothing that he’s still only 21 years old and they hedged their expectations accordingly, but all of us, each and single one (except maybe “FLUXLAND”) had high hopes for Jonas’ sophomore season.

But then the season actually came, and aside from bulking up, Jonas has looked more or less like the same player. Same boundless energy on both ends of the floor. Same number of post-moves: 1. Same problems with moving too early on screens. Same nose for grabbing offensive boards. Same ineffective jumpers.

As much as we’ve bemoaned his lack-thereof, or improper usage within the context of the offense, the ugly truth is that Jonas hasn’t really been all too impressive when he’s been given the ball. He’s definitely getting frozen out of the offense for long stretches of games (basically anytime outside of the first 6 minutes of either the first or the third quarter), and he’s being used less in the pick-and-roll (20% of possessions last year, 13% this season per Synergy Sports), but all-in-all, 8.7 points per game on 47% shooting isn’t all that great.

Therefore needless to say, his 17 point, 11 rebound and 3 block performance came as a huge sigh of relief. Let’s breakdown his illustrious night.

A caveat before I go on: the Nuggets were without JaVale McGee, so they were forced to throw a combination of Hickson/Chandler (too small) and Mozgov (too slow) at Valanciunas, so it’s not like Jonas dominated Tim Duncan or anything (remember when he did? That was fun), but having said that, there were plenty of positives from Jonas.

Jonas pulls out an abbreviated version of “The Jonas”

The book is out on Jonas Valanciunas. He has one pet-move in the post: the shot-fake, two steps towards the middle of the lane, and then a hook shot (I’m dubbing this “The Jonas”). That’s the shot he wants to take, and defenders all know that it’s coming. On this play, he catches the ball in the post and Hickson bodies up on him and tries to force Jonas baseline, but Valanciunas simply over-powers the smaller Hickson and scores easily.

A Counter-Move in the Post

“The Jonas” might be effective, but defenders have figured out how to guard it, either staying back and conceding a jumper (FYI: he’s not going to shoot a jumper), or they’re forcing Jonas towards the baseline, which is exactly what Wilson Chandler does on this play. Wilson digs in, holds his ground and firmly pushes Jonas towards the baseline. Sensing this, Jonas simply spins away from Chandler’s pressure and drops in a beautiful left-handed hook.

A Second Counter-Move in the Post

Once again Jonas gets decent post-position against Hickson before going to work. Having learned from their last encounter, Hickson does a better job of boding up on Jonas and manages to keep Jonas from driving towards the middle. Jonas takes two dribbles, feels the pressure from Hickson, spins baseline and hits a turn-around jumper over the out-stretched arm of Hickson.

Pseudo Pick-and-Pop

You know Jonas is really feeling it when he pulls out the jumper. He slips the screen on this play (doesn’t really set one anyway), gets the ball at the free-throw line, and tosses in a line-drive jumper. If Jonas could sink this jumper with any sort of consistency (>45%), he’ll be a force in the pick-and-roll. He’s already pretty effective when rolling to the rim (1.23 points per possession last season, 16th in NBA), and if he’s able to pick-and-pop, defenders won’t be able to simply sag into the paint every time Jonas gets the ball.

The Defense

Jonas doesn’t have explosive vertical athleticism, but he is quick, strong and energetic. He’s still out of position a lot, but defensive awareness takes time to learn, and for his age, Jonas does seem to be ahead of the curve. On the following plays, Jonas doesn’t WOW anyone with his athleticism. He simply moves his feet, keeps himself in position, and uses his length to record the block. Verticality, indeed!

Jonas is far from a finished product. If he were, I wouldn’t have to outline his single game accomplishments, or splurge about 17/11/3 in a post-game article. However there is clearly potential locked inside the young Lithuanian. He has a lot of tools – his scoring touch, his rebounding, his mobility, his motor – he just needs to learn how to put it together on a consistent basis. In all likelihood, Valanciunas will develop into an excellent center, and he will likely don the Raptor claw (or whatever design Drake comes up with) for many years to come. In the meantime, we’ll have the pleasure of watching one of the most promising big-men in the league go through growing pains.

He’s just like any of us. He’ll have good days and bad days, which will likely culminate in us diehards waffling between suffering and rejoicing, but in reality we’re all in the same boat, trying as best we can to endure the tumultuous tides and misfortunes of life that rock our ship and sway our spirits.

Either that, or it’s late and I don’t know how to finish this column.

  • Andrey

    “trying as best we can to endure the tumultuous tides and misfortunes of life that rock our ship and sway our spirits.” DAAMN

    • Ion66

      My spirit is suede.

  • JHP

    Missed the game but am happy for JV !! So how many wins will the Raptors need to win the division ? My guess is well under 40 and that will really be a shame.

  • sitnonDfence

    His motor is questionable. Supposedly his greatest asset, has become a weakness IMO. He finally managed to get some deep post position for the first time this year. If he can continue to do that, then he gets touches. If he reverts back to trying to post up from 15 feet out its usless. Watching on TV you can almost guarantee whether its a make or a miss on where he catches. Im sure the guys on the floor see it too, hence maybe the lack of touches.

    • robertparrish00

      I don’t think our wings notice anything except the basket (not team mates, not defenders), hence the lack of touches.

    • Plus

      Have you ever played with ball hogs? There are a lot of times where he must get frustrated trying to fight for position and then not get the ball. He’s an excellent pick and roll guy just unfortunate he doesn’t play with a true point guard and leader.

      • Roarque

        If we all agree that JV must be frustrated then we also must agree that so is Amir. Imagine a time in the future when Amir and JV start passing the ball at the 7 foot level a la Eddie Davis and Amir were doing last January.

      • FLUXLAND

        Like OP said… some “ballhogs” see you shouldn’t be getting the ball, no matter how much you think you should.

  • desktom

    Suede or swayed, if those douchebags on the wings don’t start looking to the post for our offense and understand that they will get better looks if they work it low consistently, then we have a possibility of losing this kid and having to endure the mind numbing jacks guarded from 18 feet. Dwayne Casey is an idiot for letting this horrid display of hog ball continue. fing bs

  • Michael-Kelly Ojelade

    great work on the article, but I want to show you a different perspective. Demar and Rudy combined are averaging what… 40fga a game? that is ridiculous!! No wonder Jonas is not getting the ball, he is playing with HOGS!! If he got the ball more he would put up numbers like this more often. Those two guys are hindering his development!! They shoot too much and pass too little. I watch game after game after game as he sets screens for them and what do they do? drive or take dumb shots!! That Lowry pass where he broke down his man, went into the paint and passed it to Jonas was one of the only times that has happened this year. WATCHING A TEAM FULL OF SELFISH INDIVIDUALS WHO SEEM TO BE PLAYING FOR THEMSELVES IS ATROCIOUS! It is sad to say, but Masai really needs to get rid of players.

    1) Kyle is not an elite level point guard. On a good team he comes off the bench. his FG% and true shooting % are horrible. I would deal him for a pick.. if there were any takers.

    2) Rudy Gay. I don’t want to beat a dying horse, but now we know why Memphis traded him to us. Without true all stars down lo to get double teamed, his weaknesses are super apparent. He can’t blame his eyes now. top5 worst shooting percentages in the league.

    One thing I strongly dislike is how the commentators keep calling him clutch and say how awesome he is. Lets call a spade a spade, Rudy is one of the worst ball hogs in the NBA. Paid like Lebron and Durant but not even in the next year skill wise.

    I love my raptors, I always will, but Masai promised by December he would start making moves.. I am ready to see them!

    • Plus

      I am with you. I used to listen to Eric Smith, used to read Doug’s blogs, now they are just vomit. I wish we had Steve and Skip… they tell the truth.

      Another rant about our 2 sports stations. I like hockey but to talk about it 90% of the time is pure shit. Why spend 8 hours talking about concussions or 12 hours talking about who should go in net. FACK.

      If I were JV, I’d back hand Kyle whenever he tries to give him shit. So many times where his passes were soft then JV gets blamed. I used to play pick up with guys like Kyle and its not fun. Me first mentality.

      Gay is gay.

    • Roarque

      The secret to having ball hogs on a team is to trade them. There are plenty of GMs in the NBA who have been burned by Rudy’s iso skills at closing time and so they’ll want him on their team. He has an expiring contract on a team that knows how to force him to opt out at year end – Masai needs to find his counterpart who NEEDS a closer for the rest of 2013/14

      • DDayLewis

        So we humble internet commentors have figured out that Rudy is a slightly above average player, but “plenty of GM’s” are lined up to acquire this guy? I highly doubt that.

        • sleepz

          I agree with you that the market for Gay is diminishing, however the Raps two best trade assets (Demar, and Lowry) have heightened their profiles enough recently that there might be some decent assets to be had for these guys.

          These team needs to be gutted regardless, so why not sell high on your two most attractive assets.

          • DDayLewis

            I agree: sell high on Lowry and Derozan if someone is willing to buy high on those two.

    • Milesboyer

      Dec. 15th is when trades start happening, Masai said as much himself in a recent interview.

      • MMBL10

        Trade Thoughts:

        After observing the team for first 16 games it is apparent that the Raptors need to gain picks and shed salaries. Picks will be hard to come by in 2014, so focus should be on getting unprotected first round picks in 2015 and 2016. I would propose kicking it off with a trade of Lowry and Fields for a 2015 first round pick and expiring matching contracts back. PGs are in demand right now so might be able to kill two stones with one bird by trading Lowry. Thoughts and feedback welcome. Next to go Gay -bring him off the bench so that he has no reason to want to exercise his team option at the end of the year and maybe he can actually help in that role.

        • Plus

          Yeah it all starts with the point guard. Man I wish we picked up Nate Robinson. Lowry needs to go. No leadership from that guy. Yeah he can indeed drive with tunnel vision, or jack up airballs from the three. We need a point guard who can set up the offence. I like Fields, not sure why he’s not seeing any court time. More to the point, remember when Melo was out and Lin stepped in, as well as Novak and Fields… they played better basketball because they played as a team. Also Lin was hot. Raptors need to pass the ball!!! Thats the key and it all starts from the PG.

          • DDayLewis

            Why is everyone jumping on Lowry? He’s not perfect by any means, but the dude is passing the ball and he’s getting assists. Why is everyone’s head in their ass about this? The lack of ball movement is simple: Gay and Derozan NEVER PASS. The problem is NOT Kyle Lowry.


          • Ghotte

            Nate Robinson??! wtf?

        • dickwade

          that was funny –
          “kill two stones with one bird”

        • DDayLewis

          Actually, Gay has 19 million reasons to pick up that option. The best chance for Gay to decline and leave in free-agency is if he has another 18/8 season and gets a 4-5 year, Josh Smith type contract from some idiotic team.

          • sleepz

            The best chance for Gay to decline his option and head into free agency would be to trade Demar and Lowry for picks or expiring contracts this year.

            Rudy won’t come back to a rebuilding team in his free agency year.

            • DDayLewis

              He might if he continues to have a season like this. He’ll likely take the money and try to recoup his value before signing one more big contract. The market for inefficient scoring wings is shrinking. Monta Ellis has similar numbers to Gay and he only got 24 million over 3 years last offseason.

              Best case scenario: Gay’s performance rebounds this season and he takes the money in free agency.

  • consmap

    Lol, “The Jonas”

  • jay

    I miss Jose.

  • DrFunk

    good read, just statistically, if you are not a good team you should take as many high percentage shots as possible. our shot hierarchy is completely backwards (coaching problem mixed with a lil contract-induced egomania). as always PASS THE MAHF#$%ING BALL TO JONAS!!!

  • ppellico

    This whole ball hog excuse is ongoing. I remember when Bargs was here…ball hogging was the comlaint.
    So JOnas would make more shots if he took more. So what!? Every center would. Jonas is nt showing he is THAT deserving…or at least that is not the problem with the team.
    The coaching is a problem. Our wing shooting percent is the problem.
    Get those fixed and all is well.
    But for god sake…please…Jonas, Gray, Amir…every one of them suffers under the team leaders sucking…from Coach to wings.
    And for all those think T would save us…he is just average as well…and except for his pitbull mentality, he is just average. Thank fully he at least keeps hitting.

  • Trace Fairley

    Endless optimism on Raptor draft picks gets tiring. JV will never be an all star. Solid rotation player yes – second option – sometimes. Hustles, works, team guy – all good. Limited upside due to his limited shot selection and average rebounding for a big.

    FYI Andre Drummond had 31 – 19 – 6 steals last night and I believe he is a year younger. that is scary impressive. Overestimating JV cost us a chance for Drummond. Seems to me there is a glut of effective Euro bigs in the NBA right now.

    • DDayLewis

      Will Jonas be a 20/10 guy? Probably not, but being somewhere between Joakim Noah and Al Horford is a very real possibility.

      • FLUXLAND

        See… and when some of us were claiming the same last year (and pining for Drummond), we were “haterz”.

        It’s funny how the “All Star” crowd gets to have it both ways – they were right last year and they are right again now, because now they can claim “Will he be a 20 /10 guy? Probably not.” Really? What happened to all the “wisdom” and “statistical FACT” that supported their claims and and made them infallible? While talking about Drummond’s lack of motor, FTs and how teams were scared of him.

        • DDayLewis

          There’s a very good case for Drummond over Jonas, whether you go by numbers, scouting or a mix of the two. I looked at the two players and wrote about this over the summer


          And the “stats” guys never predicted unequivocally that Jonas would be a 20/10 guy. I really don’t see where your vendetta against the “stats” crowd stems from. If anything, most of the numbers suggest that Drummond is a far superior player.

          There’s a lot to like about Jonas’ game, and there’s a lot of potential to work with (some of that is outlined in the article). There’s good reason to believe that will develop into a top-10 center in the NBA.

        • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

          Ya, I really have no idea why you’re bringing up the stats argument, because it never supported Valanciunas over Drummond. You’re trying to find arguments where there aren’t any.

          And at this point, both players have their strengths and their weaknesses. Drummond’s historically bad free throw shooting is going to always be a problem and keep him off the floor during crunch time. Valanciunas doesn’t have the explosiveness or strength that Drummond does, but he has a much better offensive game.

          The truth is, none of us know how good either player will become. Drummond looks better right now, but he’s also got a coach willing to play him more, teammates who are more willing passers, and a very defined role on the team. He’s also got a more mature body, which definitely helps.

          It’s WAY too early to start writing off players, as you seem to be doing. I’m still not willing to bet against Valanciunas eventually becoming a 20-10 player, but I never thought he’d be anything more than that.

          • FLUXLAND

            “none of us know how good either player will become” – I politely disagree. No one may be able to say 100%, but I suggest some may be able to tell more than others what a players ceiling really is. To no end, role players in TO are pushed as future AS when all considered, that likelihood is extremely low.

            The basic argument was “JV is a future AS, Drummond is a bust”, anyone suggesting otherwise was ridiculed.

            And I simply cannot disagree anymore on the Drummond argument – I will take his rebounding tenacity over FTs; games shouldn’t /usually do not come down to those. That’s an excuse bad teams use.

            • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

              What basic argument went: “JV is a future AS, Drummond is a bust”? Just saying that didn’t mean it happened. You seem to make up these arguments and then argue against them far too often. Were SOME people saying Drummond is a bust? Possibly. But last year there were lots of debates about which player Raptor fans would prefer to have, so I’m not sure where you get the attitude that anyone who suggested otherwise was ridiculed. I think you need to get off the cross, for a moment.

              As for the free throw argument, the difference between good teams and bad teams is what each one does when it matters. Good teams make fewer mistakes, hit their shots and their free throws when it counts. Bad teams don’t. If you have to take out one of your best players in crunch time because the other team can simply send him to the line, where he’s shooting 30%, that’s not a good thing. And you’re going to have trouble going far in the playoffs like that.

              • FLUXLAND

                Please. That did happen. Maybe your recollection is failing you. And it has nothing to do with getting on the cross.

                If a team’s playoff success hinges on one players FT shooting, said team has far bigger issues. It wasn’t a TEAM FT shooting discussion, anyway, it was about one players and specifically that one would prefer a legit rebounder over a FT shooter. Don’t dilute the discussion.

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  I don’t doubt it happened. But let’s not mistake a few vocal people for everyone. People tend to react to your opinions strongly because you tend to go overboard with them. I know this because it’s the same with me, but to a much lesser degree. But I don’t mistake that for a consensus against me. I take it for what it usually is. A few people who have reacted strongly to my own strong opinion.

                  As for the free throw shooting thing, you don’t seem to understand that an opposing team will MAKE IT about free throw shooting if one of the players on the other team is a horrid free throw shooter. If the game gets close, fouling Drummond is going to be an attractive option because he can’t hit them. So Detroit is going to have to take him off the floor, which means he’s not on the floor when they need him most.

                  It’s like Tony Allen. He was just one player, but his inability to hit a jumper ended up hurting the Grizzlies because the Spurs took advantage of that weakness.

                  Besides, you talk as if Valanciunas is a poor rebounder, which is ridiculous. He’s a good rebounder, just not as good as Drummond.

                • FLUXLAND

                  I am perfectly aware of the strategy, what you’re dismissing is the that an “attractive option” is not where games are won or lost. FTs are only a byproduct of the action, not where games are decided.

                  Being a good rebounder and impactuful one are different things. Collecting yours during the action is one thing, rebounding and changing the outcome of game is another.

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  Teams will do what they can to win. Period. Whether it’s grab a timely rebound or foul a poor free throw shooter. Ignoring that is ignoring lots and lots of history.

                  And if Drummond isn’t in the game during crunch time, then he can’t grab ANY rebounds, let along ones that change the outcome of the game.


      But, but.. “his motor”… “he’s FTs”… “plus look at all the other teams that passed on him”. SportsVu run team – “well, he shoots betters FTs, so clearly that’s the right choice” FFS!!

    • Louvens Remy

      During the draft 2 years ago, I was hoping so badly that they would take a flier on Drummond. I was really hoping for a twin towers like duo in Toronto. Have JV man the paint and Drummond play PF, run the floor and do incredible athletic things, but instead we took Terrence “Harold Miner” Ross. Actually, that was a diss to Harold Miner. I should have called him Gerald Green. Ya, that’s better. Terrence “Gerald Green” Ross.

    • ezz_bee

      “Overestimating JV cost us a chance for Drummond”

      Huhn? It sounds like the argument you are making is that the Raptors passed up on Drummond, because even though he was the best player available, the front office decided to draft based on a position of need because they had the front court covered with JV. The problem with the narrative that they drafted for position of need other than BPA is that they selected Terrance Ross, a shooting guard, when the team already had Demar Derozan. If they were picking based on position they would have surely picked a PG or a small forward, to areas where we need help the most. At the time there were plenty of pro JV people who also wanted the raps to draft Drummond. Also, it wasn’t the fans who made the selection of Ross, (and I don’t recall any fans having him at the top of their draft boards at 8), it was management. I just don’t see a very strong causal relationship of picking JV as the reason why Coangelo et al passed on Drummond.

  • some random guy

    Terrible coaching


    Meh. True, I do not operate under hope. And I realize my writing about him appears of the *hater* kind, but I think it’s more so about the “hope” (read:hype) for him than anything else. I appreciate Jonas, it’s his role that I have an issue with – it will eventually lead to what has been done to everyone else thrown under the same light (Bosh, Bargs, DD…).

    The farm team pushing role players as future All Stars is what causes some of the discord, and I’m with the small group of people that are spent from “endure the tumultuous tides and misfortunes of life that rock our ship and sway our spirit”…it’d be nice to watch some players polish their games into greatness, rather than watch potential trying to turn into finished product (and in some cases watch that almost finished product depart for better situations)

    As for this season, it was far more likely he was going to regress that blow up – teams know his game now and he put on weight, and it being his 2nd year he realizes what a marathon 82 games are, you can’t go full out every game, not the mention the team will always put him in situation that make him look better.

    Btw, consistency is what separates the greats from the wannabes, as growing pains end at some point, while what you’re left with is the actual player. The question now becomes against what teams (matchups) he’s putting up those numbers and what are the team results. Nuggets, in a loss…meeeehhh.

  • Louvens Remy

    Jonas’s ceiling in my opinion is a hybrid of Dale Davis and Marcus Camby. We should all be so lucky if that happens. And it if does, it probably won’t be with the Raptors, as is our curse.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      Valanciunas is already a better offensive player than Dale Davis ever was. And Camby ended up becoming Defensive Player of the Year. I’m not sure I see the comparison at all.

      I’ve always felt that Valanciunas ceiling was a Brad Daugherty-type game, but without being as good a passer. Daugherty was a good scorer, but not a great one. He was a good, but not great athlete, and he was a decent, but not great defender. If Daugherty was the second or third best player on the team, you were in good shape. But he was never a franchise guy.

      I think people are writing Valanciunas off WAY too early. He’s playing for a coach who doesn’t seem to know how to use him and with teammates who are unwilling passers. Is it any wonder he’s struggling?

      • Louvens Remy

        Hence the word Hybrid and ceiling. That is his best case scenario. Good rebounder, blocks, a bit of scoring. Might not win DPOY, may make 1 all star team if he’s lucky. Plus Brad Daugherty was an allstar 5 times and a WAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY better offensive player than JV will ever be. I think that if JV is a cross between Dale Davis and Marcus then its a good look. He can’t do that Brad Dukie type stuff on the offensive end.

        • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

          Both both Davis and Camby were defensive-first players who really didn’t do much on offense. Valanciunas offense is ahead of his defense, so I don’t see how the comparison (even as a hybrid) is apt.

          Daugherty was a VERY good player, but they have a lot of similarities. He was a way better offensive player than Valanciunas in his prime, but at the same age, he wasn’t that much better.

          Remember that Valanciunas is just 21 years old. I’m not suggesting he will become as good as Daugherty, but I think that’s his ceiling. More likely, we’re looking at a Nikola Pekovic-type player, and that’s not bad at all. A lot of teams would LOVE to have him as their center.

          • FLUXLAND

            It’s not a question of teams LOVING him on his team.. it’s in what role.

          • Louvens Remy

            Fair enough. I hope that Jonas gets to be as good offensively as Brad Daugherty but there are a lot of things on the offensive end that he would need to refine. Your Nik Pek comp is about as close as I’ve seen. If he can get that 15-18ft going then I will even consider Zydrunas as a comp, but he needs to refine his post moves and his passing. I think that on a more garbage team without soul sucking wings like the Raps, Jonas’ numbers would be different but in my mind on a good team he still projects as the 3rd or 4th option.

            My point is that I think that Jonas numbers will be much closer to Camby numbers, not necessarily in style of play. I should have made that point clear. Jonas is much more polished offensively because he’s displayed a few moves in there but we can’t forget that Camby did avg 15/11/3 a few times in his career.

            The thing is, I don’t see him fulfilling the requirements needed to put up the offensive numbers of a Brad Daugherty. Although his game is disimilar to Camby’s, he projects, in my mind, to have similar type numbers as them. Hope that explains my position.

            ** “In my mind” is my new go to when arguing cyber-furiously with Tim Dubs. All jokes. and much respect to Tim Dubs.

            • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

              Anyone achieving their “ceiling” is unlikely. Few players do. Valanciunas will definitely have to improve and develop, but I still think he’s got the potential to be a 20-10 guy, which is basically what Daugherty was.

              As for Camby, he never averaged 15 ppg in his career. His career high was 14.8, in his rookie season, and he hovered around the double digit mark in scoring the rest of his career, In fact he has averaged more rebounds, over the course of his career, than points.

      • FLUXLAND

        So you think it’s far more likely that his coaches and teammates are holding him back, as opposed them truly knowing his abilities and hiding them/not putting him in situations that will make their asset look unfavorable/he won’t be helping the team?

        I honestly, right now, can’t tell either way, although I agree something is odd..but if your suggestion is likely – wouldn’t his agent get involved?

        • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

          I think he’s 21 years old, hasn’t even been on the continent for 12 months, plays for a coach who hasn’t shown the ability to develop players and is on a team that is last in the league in assists and, as the recent column has shown, doesn’t exactly play to his strengths.

          A myriad of things can affect a player’s development, especially in the short term. Valanciunas has always been a good soldier-type, which can be good and bad.

          My point is that you’re rushing to judgement AWFULLY quick, for some reason.

          Valanciunas is currently 29th in the league in points per possession in post up opportunities, which is the exact same as Al Horford. He also does well in the pick and roll, but he actually doesn’t have enough of them to qualify. That’s the fault of the coaches and coaching staff. There are definitely signs that Valanciunas can be a very good player.

          • FLUXLAND

            The age argument is weak. Simply being young doesn’t mean anything with regards to progress.

            For some reason – because his foundation leaves much to be desired; expecting a vast improvement seems naive. Everything you just said is what was said about DD. Would you argue in the last 5 years he’s improved/grown as player as many claimed he would or has he slowly refined what he was mediocre at?

            We don’t see the same signs. The whole point is that the crazy hype has been turned into a different song and dance, one of question marks, at best.

            • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

              You’re right about the age argument. The experience argument is much better. And he’s got just one year of NBA experience, and not a whole lot of experience before that as a main offensive threat.

              DeRozan came into the league incredibly raw. He had no handles, a low basketball IQ, was poor defensively and really the only positives were a short mid-range, athleticism and a work ethic.

              Valanciunas already has a decent post game and footwork and a good touch. He has good hands, is a good rebounder and good defensive instincts for a player with his experience. You’re talking as if he’s some raw project who trips over his feet when he runs. He’s got good skills that need to be honed and worked on.

              • FLUXLAND

                Experience? Seems to me the argument not too long ago was how far better suited his game is for the NBA as he was playing with grown men. But now he’s need to refine his skills? And there’s a difference in (like DD) polishing the rough edges of your game and expending your repertoire.

                We only disagree on how deep the will may be, not that there’s water in it.

  • http://www.GCConnected.com/ Chris

    It’s so frustrating being a fan for this team. We see the glimpses of JV and DD but Rudy has been lacklustre and the rest of the team hasn’t been up to snuff. However guys like Hansbrough have brought it and made the Raptors appear to pose a threat with their hard work and hustle. However they will not be able to continually beat great teams. Here’s a great take on an eraly season evaluation for the raps up to Game 16; http://www.gcconnected.com/early-evaluation-for-the-raptors/

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