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Thread: The Official "Welcome to Toronto, Jonas Valanciunas!" thread

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    Super Moderator MangoKid's Avatar
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    Default The Official "Welcome to Toronto, Jonas Valanciunas!" thread

    Love this pick.. love, love, love it.

    Here's a snippet of instant analysis of the Valanciunas pick, courtesy of Chad Ford:

    The Raptors know international players and they may feel that they finally have found a real center. He's a true low-post player with a good motor, and he's tough -- basically the opposite of Andrea Bargnani. But this could be a pick that gets traded -- the Cavs have been all over Valanciunas for weeks. We'll see. Also, it will take a while to truly grade this pick for the Raptors as it's unlikely Valanciunas comes over this year.


    Jonas Valanciunas
    Position: Center
    Age: 19
    Birth date: May 6, 1992
    Birthplace: Utena, Lithuania
    Height: 7-0
    Weight: 245 lbs
    Reach: 9-3
    Wingspan 7-4

    Positives:
    •Talented big man with a big wingspan
    •Makes a living around the basket
    •Soft touch around the basket
    •Solid rebounder and shot-blocker
    •Runs the floor well for a big man
    •High basketball IQ and motor

    Areas that need improvement:
    •Lacks strength
    •Needs to improve perimeter game

    Notes:
    •Plays for Lietuvos Rytas in the Lithuanian league. Averaged 7.6 ppg and 5.4 rpg in 14.9 mpg in Euroleague play during the 2010-11 season.


    Here is ESPN`s Fran Frachilla`s take on Valanciunas:

    This is an NBA draft that is devoid of big men, so Lithuania's 7-foot, 245-pound 19-year-old, Jonas Valanciunas, has a lot of interest from teams in the lottery. At his age, there is no doubting his intriguing potential, but expecting him to help a team right away is unrealistic.

    More critically for teams in position to select him is projecting where Valanciunas' game will be five years from now. It is not inconceivable to some NBA personnel that he could be the best player in this draft by then -- of course the risk is that the NBA executive that drafts him could be fired by then.

    Playing background

    Valanciunas has played in virtually every major European junior tournament since he was 16 and he has been one of the continent's most prolific talents. In fact, he has been Europe's under-16 MVP and its under-18 MVP in different summers. He plans to play for Lithuania's European champions in July's Under-19 World Championships in Latvia. It will be his fifth straight summer representing his country.

    This past season, at 18 and in his first full season in the Euroleague, Valanciunas averaged almost eight points and six rebounds in 15 minutes on 71 percent shooting from the field. That doesn't sound like much, but only a handful of the top-25 high school seniors in the United States could realistically accomplish that.

    Future Position

    Valanciunas may be the best or, more precisely, the only pure low post center at the top of this draft. While his longtime European rival, Enes Kanter, measured out at 6-foot-11 and 260 pounds, Kanter has the skill level play both inside and out and will likely be utilized that way. The young Lithuanian is going to spend most of his eventual NBA career within 10 feet of the rim.

    Athleticism

    I am a big fan of Valanciunas' athleticism for a young player his size. He runs the court well and jumps well. In addition, he has a reasonably quick second jump around the basket, making him a potentially effective offensive rebounder and shot blocker.

    His major drawback at the moment is his lack of NBA-level strength, balance and defensive acumen in the paint. In fact, many times this past season, Valanciunas was manhandled around the basket by older and more mature Euroleague post players. It is the main reason it will be hard for him to log major minutes right away in the NBA.

    Skill level

    While Valanciunas has tremendous offensive potential, it is based more on his athleticism than his skill level. Right now, he scores most of his points off energy plays like offensive rebounds, fast breaks and in the screen-and-roll game, where he gets a running start to the rim.

    His lack of strength doesn't allow him to get close enough to the basket yet to utilize any low post moves. And his passing out of the post is average at this point. But based on the fact that he is a near 90 percent free throw shooter this season, there is an expectation that an offensive game can be developed as he physically matures. That is critical because he shows, at this point, no propensity for playing on the perimeter.

    Attitude and disposition

    Despite his lack of strength, Valanciunas is a competitor who did not back down this season as a teenager in a man's league. Even when he was getting beaten up, he played hard and with emotion and showed a mature disposition as he took his pounding. His motor runs at full throttle and he looks like he loves to play.

    Best case scenario: Pau Gasol

    There are athletic similarities between Gasol and Valanciunas but I emphasize here that this is a best case scenario. Both were highly successful at the European junior level as both won Under-18 European titles. And both contributed at the highest level of European basketball as teenagers.

    Don't expect for Valanciunas to have the same impact as Gasol did in his rookie season. As the No. 3 pick in the 2001 draft by the Atlanta Hawks, Gasol was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies for Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Then, as a 20-year-old in his first NBA season, he went on to average 17 points and nine rebounds.

    If Valanciunas plays in the NBA this coming season, he will be one of the youngest players in the league at 19. However, with a potential lockout looming, it would not surprise me if the young Lithuanian spends another year honing his skills in Europe. While it won't make fans of the team that drafts him happy, it may be the best way for him to mirror what Gasol did in his rookie season.


    Welcome to Toronto, Jonas!

  2. #2
    Raptors Republic Starter WhatWhat's Avatar
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    It's an excellent pick. He was the BPA, and he'll be better than Walker/Knight, for the butthurt fans.

    A combo of him and Davis would give us an extremely long, quick and moblie frontcourt. And we'll destroy people on the glass.

    The Gasol comparisons are way off, imo. When he comes here, he'll be a lot like Amir. When he develops, he'll be a cross between Chandler and Noah.

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    Administrator Dr. James Naismith's Avatar
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    I'm with you Mango. Totally excited that we got this kid. I commend Colangelo for having large nads for making this pick. Only problem now is that most of Toronto want to put a hit out on BC.

    Regardless if it was Jonas, Walker or Knight at the end of the day this team was lottery bound next season anyways. Best part of that is how strong and deep next season's draft is.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Chr1s1anL's Avatar
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    I've been a fan of Jonas for a while. His exactly what Toronto needed, a true Center. I was hoping that BC would pick him up. Draftexpress has had him as the 3rd overall prospect all year long. I think it's even a better pick cause Dwane Casey is the coach. He'll teach how to be a true big and make sure his defense first.
    @Chr1st1anL

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    Administrator Dr. James Naismith's Avatar
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    I also think the best thing is for him to play another year in Europe before coming making his NBA debut. It would allow him to develop his game more playing professionally overseas as well allow him to beef up which he does badly. Not to mention we wouldn't have to worry about paying his buyout.

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    They drafted a post. I'm content. Very gutsy move by BC. While it appears unlikely, the door is not totally shut on Jonas playing next year in the NBA.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar TheGloveinRapsUniform's Avatar
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    I admit i wasnt too pleased with the pick initially, mostly because i dont know much about the guy.
    But looking at it more closely, he was projected to be picked 4th, and we got him at 5th so it should be a good pick.
    I think thats the main issue why Raps fans didnt like the pic, because the casual fan really doesnt know much about the kid.
    The only concern would be is he's 19, and already 7feet, with much euro experience with lots more potential. And we know who the last player we picked who had the exact same credentials. And now everybody wants this player's head.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star slaw's Avatar
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    This is a tricky sell for Colangelo. The Raps' history with international big men is not good (that's being generous) and the comparisons to guys like Radojevic and Araujo are going to be beaten like rented mules, let alone the Bargs bashing. Hardcore fans may protest that it's stupid and unfair but it is the reality of the thing. Trying to get the average fan to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for tickets when you've got a 22-win team and a draft pick no casual fan has ever seen or heard of (and won't see for at least another year) isn't easy. Plus, a good portion of the press has turned on BC and they are going to be ready to kill him for this pick if there is the slightest indication of anything going wrong.

    I will say this: they had better leave this kid in Europe until he is absolutely ready to come over and play. If he comes over and looks even a little shaky the press and the fans are going to absolutely destroy him. He won't get the kind of second, third and fourth chances Bargs has. They will be running him out of town and he won't get more than a handful of games before it starts.

    It was the main reason I wasn't sure about taking a Euro big, the environment in Toronto is so poisoned that it doesn't seem like an ideal environment for a young big man to grow and develop. I guess we'll see.

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    Quote Doc Naismith wrote: View Post
    I'm with you Mango. Totally excited that we got this kid. I commend Colangelo for having large nads for making this pick. Only problem now is that most of Toronto want to put a hit out on BC.

    Regardless if it was Jonas, Walker or Knight at the end of the day this team was lottery bound next season anyways. Best part of that is how strong and deep next season's draft is.
    I Agree with you Doc. And we got Bayless, why not give him a chance to show what he can do as a starter. Good for you BC. Also from watching the interview after the draft, looks like he is excited to come to Canada and that in itself is a plus. With Casey coaching, I believe that he will be able to draw some big names here and he also said that there are things in the works to try to get a veteran Center here through FA. GO RAPS GO.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Bendit's Avatar
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    My choice was Kanter as the big or Kemba as pg. Kanter was gone and JV was the BPA (big). Agree it was a gutsy pick. As i mentioned in the other thread I wouldnt rest on tonight though. I have a sneaking suspicion that there maybe a trade with the Spurs re JV (who they covet highly).

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    Raptors Republic All-Star enlightenment's Avatar
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    weirdest draft ive ever seen...
    Tristan 4th? jonas to us? knight 8th? leanard 15th???
    i just dont know what to think, and ill leave it at that. Im curious to see how it all turns out though.

  12. #12
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    At first somewhat skeptical, but made perfect sense after researching more about him.

    Looks like we finally have our young, legit centre. This was the guy that the Spurs coveted and tried desperately to land, that says a lot.

    A tweet from Yahoo sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski before Raptors got him:

    The Spurs tried extremely hard to find a way to move up and get Valanciunas, but Cavs expected to break their hearts with fourth pick now.
    I trust BC made the right choice with this one.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Balls of Steel's Avatar
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    Awesome pick. I'll lose it if he's moved. He's a beast in the making.
    “The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.” - Martin Luther King

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    Raptors Republic Rookie Raúl's Avatar
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    I celebrated alone, in my home, in Argentina. It's all I can say. Raptors fan for life. Welcome Jonas

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    It's funny though, click on any Jonas Valanciunas video in youtube and the comments are loaded with anti-BC and anti-Valanciunas hate. The Knight/Kemba Raptor fans are out in full force.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star RaptorsFan4Life's Avatar
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    I wanted Bismack but I'm fine with this pick. Welcome to the Raptors!

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    Raptors Republic All-Star hateslosing's Avatar
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    Way back when I first started reading about the draft I was hoping the Raps would take him. As more info came out on his buyout and contract issues I sort of got scared off but he is probably the best player that was available and could end up being the best player in the whole draft in a couple years. Pretty pumped about this, it was a ballsy pick on BC's part and I think it will work out.
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    Raptors Republic All-Star Letter N's Avatar
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    I'm gonna boo him in his first game here.

    I wonder where Colangelo will be working at that point.

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    I was a little disappointed that Kanter didn't fall, but was ecstatic that Colangelo picked Valanciunas. I can't believe anyone would have been disappointed with this selection. He was my second choice, after Kanter, he is basically the opposite of whats-his-name, and he's the guy the Spurs apparently wanted. I'd say they had a VERY good draft.

    My only worry is, with him not coming over for another year, does that mean....I can't even say it.
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    Raptors Republic All-Star grindhouse's Avatar
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    I am not please at all that we picked a player that will not play for us this year. One thing I can say for sure is this kid needs to put on 20lbs of muscle. I seen so much reaching in this draft is becoming a bad trend.

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