TORONTO: Exceeds Expectations
5. Jonas Valanciunas
It’s deja vu all over again. Last year, a team above them unexpectedly took an athletic defensive power forward which resulted in a higher ranked big man unexpectedly falling to the Raptors. Colangelo and the Raptors brass probably can’t believe their luck. I was afraid they might still take Knight, but Colangelo showed he is indeed focused on the future, rather than the present.
Valanciunas will fill the void at center the Raptors have been lacking for, well, ever. While apparently a lot of Raptor fans are unhappy with the pick, I think they’ll eventually regret that as Valanciunas is the type of player that Raptor fans love. He’s a high energy player who hustles, defends and rebounds. English, though, is not his strong suit.
On the other hand, the pick they got from the Heat, which they traded to the Bulls for James Johnson, could have been used to pick Corey Joseph at 28, who went one spot later to the Spurs. Who knows if that’s who Colangelo would have picked, as he was projected to go in the second round, but I’ll certainly be comparing their careers. And since the Spurs are pretty much never wrong…
I would have liked to see them try and scoop up another pick, but it’s not a big deal that they didn’t.