Since the Toronto Raptors drafted Jonas Valanciunas fifth overall in 2011, the big Lithuanian has been the talking point for fans of the much maligned franchise.
Whether it was naive and uninformed Raptors fans practically rioting on Draft night over the Raps drafting “another soft Euro big man,” or fans later drooling and following the 19-year-old’s every move, Valanciunas quickly became the main attraction of Canada’s lone NBA franchise despite still plying his trade halfway across the globe.
Other than seeing him rock a Raptors cap at the Draft or hold up a Raptors jersey with his name and number on it at a post-Draft presser in Toronto, envisioning Valanciunas in actual Raptors game gear was more of a temporary fantasy than anything else.
But alas, the NBA’s official 2012 Rookie Photo Shoot arrived to save the day and to supply us with a Raptors fan’s equivalent of online erotica.
Here’s Jonas Valanciunas, now 20, looking like the saviour that he obviously is in glorious Raptors red:
All photos courtesy of Getty Images
Here’s Valanciunas posing for the rough sketch of the statue that will one day grace the main entrance at the Air Canada Centre. M.J.’s spread eagle outside the United Center will have nothing on this stoic figure:
Next up is a random photo of Valanciunas about to throw down on a non-existent hoop in the middle of an open field. It really confused me at first, until I realized the symbolism – all Gods are inherently one with nature.
Quincy Acy was in fine form at his own photo shoot, and I’d bet that Terrence Ross ends up having the best rookie season of them all, but come on, it’s Jonas’ world, the rest of them are just living in it.
Six weeks until camp opens…