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Thread: Valanciunas, the FIBA U19 MVP, now sets his sights on Eurobasket

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    Administrator Apollo's Avatar
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    Default Valanciunas, the FIBA U19 MVP, now sets his sights on Eurobasket

    Now that Jonas Valanciunas has concluded a stellar FIBA U19 tournament by leading Lithuania to gold the temptation is to go over the top in praising the prospect.

    You know, the way most basketball fans in this country went totally nuts when they found out the Raptors had rolled the dice on another big man of non-North American descent.

    But just as that draft night reaction was ridiculous — most Valanciunas detractors had never even seen the man play — so too would be going overboard based on his play against competition that was, with apologies to those participating, not overly impressive.

    The Americans had a hard time getting their top prospects over — though Florida centre Patric Young is considered by some a potential 2012 lottery pick — and no other players were capable of dealing with Valanciunas’ combination of size, skill, agility and competitiveness.

    That said, what Valanciunas accomplished in Latvia certainly is deserving of recognition and Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo surely is doing cartwheels, though, citing NBA lockout rules, he declined to admit as much to the Sun on Sunday afternoon.
    Valanciunas has now led his country to the gold medal at the European U16 and U18 tournaments and now, the world U19, earning tournament MVP each time, believed to be an unprecedented feat.

    He led this event in scoring (23 per game), rebounding (13.9), blocks (3.2), double-doubles (seven in nine games for 7-2 Lithuania) and was second in field goal percentage to Canada’s Dyshawn Pierre.
    His second act of the summer will be much more difficult.

    At the end of August and into September, Valanciunas is expected to be the senior teams’ backup centre as Lithuania hosts Europe for the Eurobasket competition.

    He will play behind Robertas Javtokas, once a San Antonio Spurs prospect and the most athletic big man in Europe before injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident severely affected his game.

    Lithuania will be in a group with defending European champion Spain and its world-class pair of big men, Pau and Marc Gasol.

    Getting results against those NBA stars will be far more difficult.

    It will also be interesting to see how Valanciunas fares against one of the NBA’s best-kept defensive secrets, Chicago Bulls centre Omer Asik, who plays for Turkey, another member of Lithuania’s group.

    Turkey might also have Enes Kanter, who went two picks ahead of Valanciunas and veteran Memo Okur, though injuries might keep Okur out.

    Depending on how the tournament goes, Valanciunas might even see himself up against future teammate Andrea Bargnani, though Italy is in a different group.

    Valanciunas intrigued in Latvia, but what he does at Eurobasket in a couple of months will paint a clearer picture of how close he is to making an impact in the NBA.
    Source: Torontosun.com

    I'd love to see him go head to head against Bargnani.

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    Raptors Republic Starter RAPresenting's Avatar
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    Should be interesting to see what kind of PT he gets and also how he does against grown men. great to see how dominant he is versus his own age but the NBA is full of men not kids. Let this be the real measuring stick of where he is at in his development. I could care less about him and Dre going up against each other, more intrigued by him and Kantar.

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    @jerboat

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    It's going to be awesome to see him going against players like the Gasol brothers and Asik ... Sure, he might get schooled sometimes, but we can see where he matches up against the best of the best - and then he can spend the next year improving and getting ready to play with the big boys every night.
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    Raptors Republic Veteran ceez's Avatar
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    yeah it'll be nice to see him measure himself against the best and from there prepare to get even better for when he joins the league. i'm excited.
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    I think his biggest weakness will be strength. He's going from dominating his age group to now shifting gears and taking on grown men who could be ten years older than him.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star hateslosing's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure he is going to get butchered if he has to guard Pau Gasol for any length of time but this will be fun to watch. I don't expect him to play overly well against this level of competion, but maybe he will surprise me. Players as active as him usually make their presence felt even if they can't put up gaudy numbers.
    I really want to see Val vs. Kanter and Val vs. Bargnani, even if it's only for a few minutes. On the one hand we get a preview of what could be two rookie of the year candidates if there is no season this year, and on the other we get to watch the second longest tenured Raptor take on the newest. Would be golden!
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    Wow didn't realize this is gonna be in Lithuania. Those crowds are gonna be nuts!
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    Raptors Republic Superstar TheGloveinRapsUniform's Avatar
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    I think its a bit dumb to want JV to battle it out with the likes of Gasol and Howard and expect him to come out standing. Those two have each over 5 years of experience under their belts. I dont think Howard or Gasol ever dominated Shaq when they first came in the league. JV will come into his own. He'll be a great player in the league not because he dominated other centers, but because he is a great player, period.

    I can see him as a more aggressive Gasol, with better footwork and mid-range. The thing is, he's only 19, and what we are seeing right now is, as cliche as it might sound, a tip of the iceberg. Dont even think of how he's going to fare with other centers, coz by the time he's planted he's feet on the NBA, the current great centers are either going to be out or playing fewer minutes. And we all know that he can only get better, and stronger. I mean if Bargnani was able to improve his numbers year to year, what more JV, who already has an average to slightly above average defensive game?

    The only thing thats going to slow him down is bad development.

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    Quote hateslosing wrote: View Post
    I'm pretty sure he is going to get butchered if he has to guard Pau Gasol ...
    He will

    The hype will die down dramatically - less than 5% of the guys in the U19 will never be on an NBA roster.

    He will rack up fouls - good for him dominating the U19 but a reality check is coming.
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    Raptors Republic Superstar TheGloveinRapsUniform's Avatar
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    Quote charlz wrote: View Post
    He will

    The hype will die down dramatically - less than 5% of the guys in the U19 will never be on an NBA roster.

    He will rack up fouls - good for him dominating the U19 but a reality check is coming.
    i saw that too, he seems overly aggressive at times going after blocks.
    But like i said, the only thing thats going to slow him down is bad development.
    The Raptors need to make sure to integrate a balance of both offense and defense when developing him.
    We all know what happens when you only concentrate on offense.....

    As far as i know, these FIBA seasonal tourneys are more about talent than development. Teams exploit talents and play them as they are. So it will be up to the Raps staff to shape JV into the best he can become.

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    Quote tbihis wrote: View Post
    I think its a bit dumb to want JV to battle it out with the likes of Gasol and Howard and expect him to come out standing. Those two have each over 5 years of experience under their belts. I dont think Howard or Gasol ever dominated Shaq when they first came in the league. JV will come into his own. He'll be a great player in the league not because he dominated other centers, but because he is a great player, period.

    I can see him as a more aggressive Gasol, with better footwork and mid-range. The thing is, he's only 19, and what we are seeing right now is, as cliche as it might sound, a tip of the iceberg. Dont even think of how he's going to fare with other centers, coz by the time he's planted he's feet on the NBA, the current great centers are either going to be out or playing fewer minutes. And we all know that he can only get better, and stronger. I mean if Bargnani was able to improve his numbers year to year, what more JV, who already has an average to slightly above average defensive game?

    The only thing thats going to slow him down is bad development.
    What about Howard? You know this is the Eurobasket right?

    He won't do great, but that don't matter. I'm strong believer that you gotta play better people to get better.
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    Raptors Republic Superstar TheGloveinRapsUniform's Avatar
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    Quote Employee wrote: View Post
    What about Howard? You know this is the Eurobasket right?

    He won't do great, but that don't matter. I'm strong believer that you gotta play better people to get better.
    Im not sure what you mean by What about Howard.....
    Yes, it is Eurobasket, where they say, is more tough and defense oriented.

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    Quote tbihis wrote: View Post
    Im not sure what you mean by What about Howard.....
    Yes, it is Eurobasket, where they say, is more tough and defense oriented.
    I just didn't know why you were talking about Howard when JV is playing Eurobasket.

    Anyway, I think it's awesome he's getting a taste of what it's like to be playing good NBA Cs. Especially since he's the backup and won't have all the pressure of covering them.
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    Quote tbihis wrote: View Post
    I think its a bit dumb to want JV to battle it out with the likes of Gasol and Howard and expect him to come out standing. Those two have each over 5 years of experience under their belts. I dont think Howard or Gasol ever dominated Shaq when they first came in the league. JV will come into his own. He'll be a great player in the league not because he dominated other centers, but because he is a great player, period.

    I can see him as a more aggressive Gasol, with better footwork and mid-range. The thing is, he's only 19, and what we are seeing right now is, as cliche as it might sound, a tip of the iceberg. Dont even think of how he's going to fare with other centers, coz by the time he's planted he's feet on the NBA, the current great centers are either going to be out or playing fewer minutes. And we all know that he can only get better, and stronger. I mean if Bargnani was able to improve his numbers year to year, what more JV, who already has an average to slightly above average defensive game?

    The only thing thats going to slow him down is bad development.
    Well said. JV is at least 3 years away (with good development as you put it) to even come close to being a force in the NBA. And then it shall not be every night cause this is the NBA. We should just be pleased that he shows so much promise in bb skills as well as the intangibles. He was clearly the leader of his team and showed it.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star hateslosing's Avatar
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    Quote charlz wrote: View Post
    He will

    The hype will die down dramatically - less than 5% of the guys in the U19 will never be on an NBA roster.

    He will rack up fouls - good for him dominating the U19 but a reality check is coming.
    If he plays 15 minutes a game and doesn't get absolutely destroyed I will be very happy. He is 19 and if he was able to keep up with guys like Pau or even Andrea at this point in his career he would go from a project type player to a first year impact player.

    I don't get this thought that if you don't make it to the NBA, you are a chump. There are a lot of very very good players that never make the transition over that could likely play on an NBA roster. Also

    less than 5% of the guys in the U19 will never be on an NBA roster.
    Is a very cofusing statement. I think you meant that less than 5% of the players in the U19 tourney will play in the NBA but I can't be sure since your sentence means >95% of all the players in the U19 will make the NBA.
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    Raptors Republic Starter RAPresenting's Avatar
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    Quote tbihis wrote: View Post
    I think its a bit dumb to want JV to battle it out with the likes of Gasol and Howard and expect him to come out standing. Those two have each over 5 years of experience under their belts. I dont think Howard or Gasol ever dominated Shaq when they first came in the league. JV will come into his own. He'll be a great player in the league not because he dominated other centers, but because he is a great player, period.

    I can see him as a more aggressive Gasol, with better footwork and mid-range. The thing is, he's only 19, and what we are seeing right now is, as cliche as it might sound, a tip of the iceberg. Dont even think of how he's going to fare with other centers, coz by the time he's planted he's feet on the NBA, the current great centers are either going to be out or playing fewer minutes. And we all know that he can only get better, and stronger. I mean if Bargnani was able to improve his numbers year to year, what more JV, who already has an average to slightly above average defensive game?

    The only thing thats going to slow him down is bad development.
    Which Gasol are you talking about? If it's Pau you might want to put the expectations into perspective. Remember Gasol put up great numbers his rookie year and was an instant impact player.

    Year Team G GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% OFF DEF RPG APG SPG BPG TO PF PPG
    01-02 MEM 82 79 36.7 0.518 0.200 0.709 2.9 6.0 8.9 2.7 0.5 2.1 2.73 2.38 17.6

    I think JV is gonna be solid but expecting anything close to Pau seems like a stretch to me. Pau was 21 his rookie year so perhaps a better comparison will be JV's second season in the league so he's still got time. Quite the comparison but will be ecstatic if your right!

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    Quote RAPresenting wrote: View Post
    Which Gasol are you talking about? If it's Pau you might want to put the expectations into perspective. Remember Gasol put up great numbers his rookie year and was an instant impact player.

    Year Team G GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% OFF DEF RPG APG SPG BPG TO PF PPG
    01-02 MEM 82 79 36.7 0.518 0.200 0.709 2.9 6.0 8.9 2.7 0.5 2.1 2.73 2.38 17.6

    I think JV is gonna be solid but expecting anything close to Pau seems like a stretch to me. Pau was 21 his rookie year so perhaps a better comparison will be JV's second season in the league so he's still got time. Quite the comparison but will be ecstatic if your right!
    Yes, Pau Gasol. I was actually making a "who he reminds of" comparison between JV and Pau, i wasnt saying that JV will produce numbers like Pau did right away. I dont think theyll be able to be "stats comparable". Pau came into a struggling team without any legit scorers, rebounders, short saying they needed a franchise player and made Pau into one. JV is expected to be a major piece for the Raps, but not the piece. He'll probably be, at best, a 4th option when he comes in. But with experience, will he ever be as good as Pau? He might, who knows. All signs point to yes, IMO.

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    Quote charlz wrote: View Post
    He will

    The hype will die down dramatically - less than 5% of the guys in the U19 will never be on an NBA roster.

    He will rack up fouls - good for him dominating the U19 but a reality check is coming.
    So...he's supposed to. It's like saying a new fighter in the UFC would get beaten up by the champion in his weight class.
    It wouldn't mean anything if it happened...this isn't a reality check...and wouldn't justify any of the ridiculous cynicism around this pick.

    Wow, did you really think you were saying something here?

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    Quote charlz wrote: View Post
    He will

    The hype will die down dramatically - less than 5% of the guys in the U19 will never be on an NBA roster.

    He will rack up fouls - good for him dominating the U19 but a reality check is coming.
    And what percentage of guys in the NCAA Tournament will make an NBA roster? I'm guessing not much more.
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