Summer League is a young man’s game, but add a more polished beast to the mix and those young men are reduced to boys. Case in point, Saturday night in Las Vegas where a bulked up Jonas Valanciunas physically dominated anyone and everyone Miami’s Summer League team threw at him.
The tough thing about covering and writing about Summer League basketball is that you have to follow up virtually every observation you make and voice with “but it’s Summer League.”
At the end of the day, no one should mistake Valanciunas’ field day on Saturday as a sign that he’s going to dominate at the NBA level in 2013-14, but it is a clear sign that he’s miles ahead of most 21-year-old big men in his development, both physically and technically, with most already anointing him the best player in Vegas this year (And for what it’s worth, I do expect a much improved NBA game and improved statistical contribution come October).
It may only be Summer League, but if Jonas can learn a thing or two from getting double-teamed (and maybe even triple-teamed) this week while continuing to adapt to his new found bulk and continuing to wreak havoc in the post, all the power to him.
At the end of the game, which the Raptors lost 81-72, Valanciunas had finished with 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, though the five turnovers and four fouls in 25:39 were a clear sign of rust.
As for the other Raptors taking part, Terrence Ross didn’t look any different than the rookie we saw three months ago (though again…Summer League) and Quincy Acy still looks more comfortable as a power forward than as a small forward, but that’s to be expected.
Toronto’s next game is Sunday night at 10:30 p.m. ET against Cory Joseph, Nando De Colo and the Spurs.
By the way, if you were wondering where Julyan Stone was, he reportedly failed his physical, or at the very least has some sort of “physical issues,” and may no longer be in the Raptors’ plans.