Archive for the ‘Jonas Valanciunas’ Category

Everybody is very excited for Jonas Valanciunas to join the Raptors, even after a kind of underwhelming Olympics that saw him battle foul trouble, pick-and-roll confusion and a coach who (understandably) didn’t care if he got better because he was trying to win a medal and not make sure the Raptors got a solid return on their investment. Still, rumors persist that Jonas would have been the No. 2 overall pick, behind only Anthony Davis, in this year’s draft, so people are pretty jacked.

And one guy in particular who should be super pumped is Jonas Valanciunas, who’s going to be a millionaire very soon. Except he doesn’t really care that he’s going to be set for life at the age of 20. From some Lithuanian news website called

- What are you spending your first NBA paycheck on? A Cadillac, perhaps, like Martynas Andriuškevičius?

- I will pay severance to my former club. Then I’ll save. I’m joking. I don’t know yet what I’ll spend it on. All my thoughts are on basketball now.

Nothing more exciting than paying off debt and saving money when you’re 20 and getting your first enormous contract. Suze Orman would appreciate it, no doubt. This is the kind of maturity you want to see in your potential franchise cornerstone.

Not to mention, Raptors fans could get a little excited that he’s coming to Canada proclaiming that “all [his] thoughts are on basketball now.” Who wouldn’t love to hear that from a rookie? Sure, it would have been pretty fun to see Jonas Valanciunas rocking a gigantic, iced-out Jesus piece to and from games, but I guess it’s better that he’s just thinking about basketball. Once that second contract comes though, I’m expecting big things like putting down a down payment on a sensible house or investing in some low-risk mutual funds that will slowly grow over time. You know, really crazy NBA baller status type stuff.

Heading in to these Olympics, one of the players NBA fans were most excited to see was Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas. Not only was he a lottery pick in the 2011 draft, there were rumors he’d go No. 2 in this year’s draft, right behind the unibrowed Anthony Davis. That’s how good people think he is and this would be his biggest stage. By playing against NBA competition every single game, we’d finally be able to give Kenny Smith some Raptor news and see how Jonas measured up.

The results? Not so good. He never played more than 16 minutes and often played less than 10. He never scored more than seven points in a game and managed five or more rebounds just three times, while being in constant foul trouble and looking very slow defensively when forced out of his comfort zone, even though he made the right decisions. Basically, he looked like a 20-year-old playing against grown men while being coached by a guy who wanted to give his veteran squad its best chance to win a medal.

However, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, he did eventually learn one very important lesson in London.

After introducing myself as a scribbler from Toronto, to which he replied “good to meet you” and that puts him ahead in my books, first question out was what did you learn here?

“I learned how not to foul out.”

Now that, my friends, is a valuable lesson. Just ask Greg Oden (don’t mention the knees). Once you learn how to play defense without hacking everybody who comes near you, you can actually stay on the court, which is very important when it comes to playing basketball. Someday, David Lee might even learn about it.

So there you go, Raptor fans. Maybe the tournament wasn’t the most exciting thing you could hope to see from a future player, but at least he learned something that’s going to come in handy in the future. Then once he learns how to complain any time a foul is called on him, he’ll truly be NBA ready.