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Raptors’ bench Jonas Valanciunas for play vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Jan 20, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT

Toronto Raptors

After seeing him bulked up at Summer League and looking like a man among boys, after seeing him play well for his native Lithuania over the summer, a lot of people picked Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas to have a breakout season.

Not so much. He’s scoring a little more per game but that’s just because he’s shooting more, his shooting percentage dropped from 55.7 percent last season to 49.5 percent this season. He’s grabbing a slightly higher percentage of rebounds, but overall he’s not taken the expected step forward.

Sunday Pau Gasol was having his way with Valanciunas and Raptors coach Dwane Casey went with his other options, as he told the Toronto Sun.

“He needed to do a better job on Pau Gasol and I thought Chuck (Hayes) and Amir (Johnson) did a better job on him and we went for the defensive matchup,” Casey explained…

Valanciunas struggled Wednesday in Boston as well, but on that night all the bigs were having a tough time. With Hayes playing Gasol tough, Casey chose to go with him over his sophomore centre.

Amir Johnson is having his second solid season in a row up in Toronto, and Chuck Hayes is the definition of a solid veteran who can be relied upon.

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Valanciunas gets 31.9 percent of his shot attempts out of post-ups and shoots 48.5 percent on those, which is fairly pedestrian (via Synergy Sports). He’s far more effective when moving off the ball, and he can be a force on the offensive glass at times, but he’s not as big a force as the roll man as the Raptors would hope with Kyle Lowry.

Valanciunas still is a good second-year player, and maybe the third season is the year he makes the leap. You could see him as part of what is being built by Masai Ujiri in Toronto, but how big a part will depend on if he can consistently find his game.

  1. nflcrimerankingscom - Jan 20, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    Looks like Tristan Thompson was the right pick for the Cavs over Vala, but both underwhelming.

  2. johngalt1783 - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    1. Too slow
    2. Can’t jump
    3. Has lousy post footwork
    4. Too slow in his decision making.with ball

    #3 and #4 are correctable. #1 and #2 are not.

  3. johngalt1783 - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    Re Valanciunas play in Eurobasket 2013. It was awful. That is why he wound up being Lithuana’s third string Center behind two Euroleague players.

  4. borderline1988 - Jan 20, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    JV will be fine. His defense will improve – he’s got long arms, has bulk, and is energetic. Even if he can’t be a legitimate offensive threat because of weak decision-making and instead ends up being a 15 and 10 energy guy, that’s not bad for a 7 foot center. I’ll take that any day.

    Anyone else watch that Lakers/Raptors game? The officiating was atrocius; the refs essentially handed the game to the Lakers. Lakers shot 28 FTs to the Raptors’ 11, and it’s not like the Lakers were driving inside any more than the Raptors. If my count was correct, the refs called four 3pt shooting fouls against the Raptors, and literally none of them were actual fouls.

    There were at least 2 fouls assessed to the Raptors defending Pau Gasol where he wasn’t touched at all. And the refs bailed out Nick Young so many times. It was infuriating.
    I can’t believe this wasn’t more of a story. It was one of the worst officiated games I have ever seen,

    • borderline1988 - Jan 20, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      Just to add, the Raptors:

      – out-rebounded the Lakers by a large margin (47 – 31)
      – had 10 more assists than the Lakers (30 – 20)
      – outshot the Lakers (49% to 46%) AND had more shots than the Lakers (90 – 80)
      – had more points in the paint (52 – 40)
      – had more second-chance points (16 – 6)
      – had a similar number of Fast Break points (12 – 13)

      They beat the Lakers in essentialy every important category, except the one which they had little control over, which was the refs’ whistles. The only reason why they lost this game is because of the refs. Shameful!

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