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Old 07-17-2011, 11:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
jeffb
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Raptors Hoops Institute blog: Lockout may benefit the Raptors

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As of July 1, the long anticipated NBA labour stoppage finally happened. The NBA has locked out its players, developed a time machine to go back to 1998 to redesign its website, and prevented contact between teams and players during the offseason, leaving some players' offseason development plans in the lurch. While that may seem to be a big negative, it could be that this lockout actually gives the Raptors a competitive advantage going forward.

European Vacation

There are a number of ways that this whole messy lockout situation actually benefits the Raptors. One of those ways concerns the Euroleague and the national leagues, which will still be playing games this season. The main, and obvious, beneficiary here is Jonas Valanciunas. Most of this year's draftees are going spend some chunk of the season sitting at home or working out on their own. By contrast, Valanciunas is slated to play something like 70 games this year, split between his club team and the Lithuanian national team. That's almost a full NBA season of games against the highest level of competition outside the NBA, plus all the associated practice and conditioning. I don't think there should be any question that the opportunity there for player development is higher than that available to most other prospects this year. Even better, from the Raptors' perspective, is that thanks to Lithuania's big win at the U-19 tournament, Valanciunas is now a major celebrity in his native land, which ought to translate into a bigger role on both his teams this year. The longer the lockout stretches on, the more inspired the Valanciunas pick starts to look. This level of benefit is available to any NBA player who decides to play in Europe this year of course, but insurance concerns will prevent most draftee's and a lot of NBA players from taking advantage.
A Light in the Darkness: The Lockout and the Raptors' Players ~ HoopsInstitute.ca
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