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Post#1 Jonas Valanciunas
Sun Feb 6, 2011 5:44 pm by hotshotschamp

This kid is a beast, and he's doing it as a 18 year old against grown men.

Today 02/06/2011, he had 19 pts, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks in 19 minutes. He was 8-8 from the floor and 3-3 from the FT line, making it a perfect shooting day.

The other day he had 19 pts and 18 rebounds, in 21 minutes.

http://www.eurobasket.com/player.asp?Cn ... rID=129294 - euro stats

Recently this was said on SI.COM

One executive believes the 18-year-old Valanciunas, a 6-11, 240-pound center with the Lithuanian club Lietuvos Rytas, will emerge as the top pick.

"He's the best thing I've seen out of that country since [Zydrunas] Ilgauskas," the executive said. "He has a very good basketball IQ, he's tough, he can score, and over the last two years he has made the kind of jump you're looking for. He can shoot, but he can also be a traditional back-to-the-basket center, the way you like centers to be. He's different from [the Raptors' Andrea] Bargnani in that he's a legitimate post player.''
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Post#2 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Sun Feb 6, 2011 7:11 pm by Darknemo2000

Yes it pretty much sums up from what I have seen of him so far.

He has very good tools given to him by nature - his height is 210 cm which isn't too tall when you think of it, but he has a very long arms (too long for his frame and body) which potentially can make him into a very good defensive player.

I happen to see the game you mentioned - and the only reason Valanciunas grabbed only 4 rebs was that Mike Bonner (Luke Bonner brother) was shooting from the 3pt line most of the game and Jonas had to go up to guard him there so naturally you cannot grab many rebounds on the 3pt line.

He also got 3 Blocks which proves that his defensive potential is high due to his long reach, as many opponents do not estimate correctly just how long arms Valanciunas has because again it is unnatural.

Valanciunas has very quick second jump which combined with his long arms and natural agility makes pretty nasty thing to guard and box out.

Since most of his a career he has been doubled or tripled he is pretty used to that which results into him making high IQ decisions in game and not getting lost when pressured. He knows when the double team is coming and knows how he should act - sometimes he goes between the double team to dunk and sometimes just passes out.

Valanciunas is every solid FT shooter. He is shooting 87% FT this shooter and that is mostly that after each training he takes additional 200 FT just for himself and it feels - he is more solid on the charity line than most guards.

He has the right attitude. He isn't arrogant but more of a gym rat who prefers doing his job rather than arguing with opponents. In fact I have never seen him appealing referee either even when they make a total crap calls.

Many say that he cannot hit Jumper which limits his range but it isnt exactly true - I have seen most of shots he took outside the box, its just that he preferred banging inside rather than settling for the middle ranged jump shots. He only takes jump shots when the time is winding down or when he reads the game that he wont have a better option during the remainder time either (his decision making is quick due to his high BB IQ).

Now since I talked about many positives he still has things to work on.

First and the bad thing is - his body isnt ready for NBA just yet. Simple as that. If you want your rookie to show results on the first year then you should draft Kanter or Nogueria who have more of the body suited for NBA battles.

Valanciunas on the other hand looks like has higher ceilings but he is more raw but at the same time - with in my opinion more potential. Heck I have seen Valanciunas jumpshot two months ago and today and I have to say he improved a lot - looks more confident with it now, though still doesn't feel his shot fluently enough to tell if it goes in or not, but his body movement is certainly better - which I didnt expect to happen in a pretty short time.

Another bad thing about Valanciunas is his eagerness to defend. While it sounds fine and indeed its better to be overly eager than not defending but because of his youth he wants to make crowd go wild with impressive blocks which result him into falling for the fakes.

He also lacks strength so when playing with his back he needs to use his brains more. Which is fine as he has high IQ but sometimes can give him troubles because he is still raws and his post moves arsenal is still limited and easier to predict.

He needs to stand on his feet more firmly and not always chase after small guards - yes he is fast but because of that some ugly switches on defense can happen. He tries to help his teammates on D too much. but this is fixable really.

Sometimes his screens are pretty weak.

But all and all Valanciunas seems to be a really good big prospect who is more raw than Kanter or other bigs but at the same time - with better tools and bigger potential to surpass all of the bigs in this draft class. But Jonas most likely wont take part in this year draft so he is more a player about the draft next year than this one. And I think its good cause he needs to build his body more. He can play of course even the way he is right now.

He is not a pussy like Bargnani so he wont be 'sissy euro' as he would go inside and try to get rebounds and score on inside play but at the same time his body is still very light and he wont be as effective right now as rookies with more power in their frame.
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Post#3 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Sun Feb 6, 2011 7:35 pm by hotshotschamp

You don't think he'll come out in this draft?

I actually think he will enter the draft, assuming he's a top 5 pick, which in all likelihood it's looking like he will be.

Might as well, if there is a lockout he can stay in europe just as well and hone his skills.

I bet he comes out.
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Post#4 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Sun Feb 6, 2011 8:56 pm by Darknemo2000

Well remember he is on a contract with Rytas club for two more years without this one and I know that the buy-out is pretty big.

You can still draft him and keep him in the Rytas club for one year to see how he develops there (with maybe agreement with the club to give him more minutes), but it would mean the club would still loose one year since the draft. On the other hand lockout probability is high enough so it could be a pretty good option all in all.

I am just saying on what I have seen so far - though most of the things he does is good - it all gets mingled down that he still needs to develop his body more. Its no secret that Lithuanians body start to develop later than not just Americans but also later than most European nations as well.

Also Valanciunas is pretty patient guy so he might hold up the horses and wit for a season if he thinks he can up the call even more.

The biggest thing in this draft is that the big guys draft is pretty weak so Valanciunas wouldnt have much of concurrents in that sense and if a team is searching for a rookie big Valanciunas might end up ahead over all other bigs not because he is currently better than them (he isn't) but because he has highest potential and highest ceiling from them all... Can go either way really. I just think it would be better for him to stay one more year out of NBA and focus on his body and polish the things cause so far he has been progressing at high speed and very fluently (his gym rat personality helped him with that no doubt).
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Post#5 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Sun Feb 6, 2011 9:10 pm by Alfred

Top 5 pick is big money, and virtually a guarantee that you're going to get minutes with an NBA club.
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Post#6 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Sun Feb 6, 2011 9:54 pm by Darknemo2000

Alfred wrote:Top 5 pick is big money, and virtually a guarantee that you're going to get minutes with an NBA club.


Well yeah and if one of the top 5 draft teams will need bigs most he is very likely to end there (and general talent wise he is good).

Kanter is also a good center and better than Valanciunas now but what makes him less good are his knees (they can become a real problem), he is bit slacking on D (Valanciunas makes mistakes because he is too eager defending and helping defending but I never seen him slacking off on D, on the other hand I have seen Kanter doing that).

Kanter also develops less rapidly than Valanciunas does but this is also because Kanter came in as a more all around player while Valanciunas were lacking a lot.

Remember that when ą5 year old Valanciunas played for U-16 he was mostly regarded as a defensive center with good rebounding skills and only in that tournament we learned that he can be so much more as he showed really good efficiency and scoring even with those limited postal moves.

Since then Valanciunas continues to improve at sometimes incredible pace. Just two month ago when i saw on the video him shooting mid range his wrist was like wooden - he totally had no confidence in his shot, but after two months his wrist moves much better and while he still isn't very good at feeling his shot, he is more confident in the middle range shooting.

These things considered plus all the tools given to Valanciunas by nature he can really be hopeful when we talk about this draft and the big bodies in it.

Well in any case we will see how he will decide.
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Post#7 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Sun Feb 6, 2011 10:25 pm by UGA Hayes

Also I wouldn't be surprised if the league just completely abolishes the buy-out limits as the Euro teams have been very unaccomodating in that aspect, to the point that I suspect NBA owners are very unhappy with FIBA clubs.
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Post#8 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Mon Feb 7, 2011 3:15 pm by Dr Positivity

Thanks for the write-up Darknemo. He sounds like a top 5 prospect but I'd still be scared out of my pants to get a really tall guy who fouls too much, gets pushed around and can't read the NBA game.
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Post#9 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Mon Feb 7, 2011 4:10 pm by gswhoops

He sounds a lot like Andris Biedrins coming out of Europe (who put up 18/9/2 blocks per game in Euroleague as a 17 year old). Assuming he doesn't have the masculinity crisis Biedrins is going through, I'd say he projects to be a good but not great starting center. Probably not worth a top 5 pick but scouts will drool over his "potential"
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Post#10 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Mon Feb 7, 2011 5:13 pm by Dr Positivity

One reason I think he could fall to closer to 10th or so is that GMs don't want to risk their job, IMO. It's one thing to get college stars Terrence Jones or Derrick Williams and get meh tweeners, they'll forgive you for it. But if you take Valanciunas top 5 and he's a Skita/Darko like bust punchline, over one of the college stars - that'll hang over the franchise and GMs reputation for a long time. Nothing will get a GM bashed more than taking an unknown awkward looking Euro over an American star and watching the Euro flop
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Post#11 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Mon Feb 7, 2011 5:44 pm by Ruzious

Dr Mufasa wrote:One reason I think he could fall to closer to 10th or so is that GMs don't want to risk their job, IMO. It's one thing to get college stars Terrence Jones or Derrick Williams and get meh tweeners, they'll forgive you for it. But if you take Valanciunas top 5 and he's a Skita/Darko like bust punchline, over one of the college stars - that'll hang over the franchise and GMs reputation for a long time. Nothing will get a GM bashed more than taking an unknown awkward looking Euro over an American star and watching the Euro flop

I think the logic there is silly. If he's the best player, and GMs pass on him, they're risking their jobs. And if they pass on him just because they're afraid to take a foreignor, they are begging to lose their jobs.
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Post#12 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Mon Feb 7, 2011 7:00 pm by UGA Hayes

Yeah the flip side is that if you get an international player correctly pegged you look pretty shrewd as a talent evaluator. Getting one aforeto unknown Dirk or Manu makes you look pretty good. At the end of the day you have to trust your evaluation of the player for better or worse.
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Post#13 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Wed Feb 9, 2011 3:06 am by Darknemo2000

gswhoops wrote:He sounds a lot like Andris Biedrins coming out of Europe (who put up 18/9/2 blocks per game in Euroleague as a 17 year old). Assuming he doesn't have the masculinity crisis Biedrins is going through, I'd say he projects to be a good but not great starting center. Probably not worth a top 5 pick but scouts will drool over his "potential"


One difference was that Biedrinis could never score at will, while this guy - can.

But yes Biedrinis with improved offense is what came to my mind when I watched the game. However the offense is improved quite a bit because Valanciunas has more offensive skills than Biedrinis ever did. So putting this into consideration I would rate him way higher than Biedrinis and I think it would make him a great starting center.

Of course if he develops for the NBA game, because with euro players there is usually that risk. But considering his better reflexes , better scoring at the rim, better second jump, longer hands, high basketball IQ, rapidly improving jumper and the great FT percentage, good mobility - I think he will. And it would be a mistake to write him off as Biedrinis 2.

Their games are similar but Valanciunas has much higher offensive potential.

Also I think you should check your information sources because as far as I know Biedrinis never played in Euroleague. He made those numbers playing in Latvian League (which is weaker than Lithuanian) with Rygos Skonto. Skonto didn't even become a champions and was just an average latvian club (and in average club on weak league its pretty easy to get high statistics).

He did play pretty well in European championship but again - when you are the only legitimate center on the rather weak Latvian NT you would usually put up good numbers.

Biedrinis also never dominated Youth championships, like Valanciunas (MVP of 2008 and 2010) did. Valanciunas played in euroleague games and though usually spends less than 16 minutes leads the team in rebounding, efficiency, FG % and FT% and blocked shots. Sometimes why the coach of Rytas does not let him play more puzzles me because they usually go on a big scoring run with Valanciunas on the court and Jonas doesnt get into foul trouble this often.

Still I think comparing him to Biedrinis is reasonable, but you have to have in mind that Valanciunas has better natural and offensive tools than Biedrinis did this gives him quite a bit bigger potential than Latvian center (who never had all that great offensive game).
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Post#14 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Wed Feb 9, 2011 4:17 pm by gswhoops

^^ Yeah, European championships, not Euroleague. My bad, I don't really pay that close attention to Euro basketball except where draft prospects are involved.

Jonas is probably a better prospect but I just thought the comparison was an interesting one. Biedrins with better offense would be a damn good player.
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Post#15 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Wed Feb 9, 2011 4:36 pm by Piecake

I would love to have Jonas on the wolves if the wolves end up getting a pick in the 4-6 range (which will happen)
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Post#16 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Wed Feb 9, 2011 11:46 pm by Darknemo2000

gswhoops wrote:^^ Yeah, European championships, not Euroleague. My bad, I don't really pay that close attention to Euro basketball except where draft prospects are involved.

Jonas is probably a better prospect but I just thought the comparison was an interesting one. Biedrins with better offense would be a damn good player.


Well he debuted in Euro championship in 2007 in other words - when he was already drafted by Golden state in 2004, not to mention that his stats in EC (15 pts, 9 rebs in nearly 34 minutes) weren't as good as good as in Skonto (the aforementioned stats by you are from there).

Still as I said your comparison with Biedrinis is pretty good cause they do resemble each, its just that Valanciunas is way much much better in offense and has higher IQ as well as better shot (heck Biedrinis career FT% is around 48% while Valanciunas - 87%).

Not to mention that Biedrinis while not a team cancer was never really a cool hard working guy too. Jonas has a better personality, grown up type of guy who knows what he wants and is willing to work hard to get the best out of himself (he still does 200FT everyday after training even though his FT% percentage would be considered very solid even among guards).
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Post#17 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:27 am by erudite23

Um.....who the hell wants a young Andris Biedrins, with better offense?


*looks around*
















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Post#18 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:35 pm by Ruzious

Eh, too late. You waited too long looking around. Wiz take him. You get Harrison Barnes as a consolation prize.

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Post#19 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:24 pm by pcbothwel

Ruzious wrote:Eh, too late. You waited too long looking around. Wiz take him. You get Harrison Barnes as a consolation prize.

Welcome to DC, Johnny Valentine.


:D
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Post#20 Re: Jonas Valanciunas
Tue Mar 1, 2011 12:35 am by droponov

erudite23 wrote:Um.....who the hell wants a young Andris Biedrins, with better offense?


*looks around*
















*raises hand*


Biedrins is a pitiful post defender. Was always a softie. His mobility and speed helps him doing other stuff defensively, but he's not nearly as good as he could be there. And in the post, he's awful and not just because he isn't very strong.

Valanciunas is a ferocious defender. A bit too much actually. Once he gains some strength and experience, nobody will mess with him. Kind of player who loves to get stops as much as scoring a basket.

Agreed about the better offense part (that wouldn't be too difficult).
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