Initially, reading we picked another tall euro instead of Knight and Walker broke my heart. I couldn't really recall which one of "those Euros" Valanciunas was. I was also kind of confusing him with Jan Vesley (who sounds overrated - he reminds me more of Adam Morrison/Jonathan Bender than Kirilenko) or, gulp, Donatas Motiejunas.
After spending a good hour reading up on Valanciunas, I'm much more confident on the pick. He looks like he could turn into a 10/10/2 center or more! Knowing that Jonas is a true 5 and not a soft 4 is huge. He is absolutely nothing like Bargnani
- he's a banger, a rebounder, and scores much of his points on dunks, drives, and putbacks. A much more apt comparison is a younger, rawer Pau Gasol.
The fact that Jonas is one of the youngest players in the draft helps build my confidence in the pick. Donatas was born in 1992, compared to 1990 for Motiejunas, Vesley and Kemba and 1989 for Jimmer. He's also apparently one of the most efficient players on the draft board, and a high FT% shooting true center. That sound is checkboxes being ticked. 7 feet tall in shoes? Check. Healthy, good motor? Check. Efficient? Check. Good rebounder (a massive Raptor weakness)? Check. I could care less whether he has a well developed post game or not right now!
When Jonas sad that he was weaker than the competition in his interview, that could have been a shoe drop moment had he been a ~22 year old prospect. Considering that he just celebrated his 19th birthday last month, and the fact that he's playing in the top Euroleagues, his comment actually became endearing and appropriate to me.
I don't mind at all if he spends another year overseas, especially with the big question mark that is the impending lockout.