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Old 12-16-2011, 06:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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ESPN: Raps 3rd in most promising rebuild

3. Toronto Raptors

Young stud? Maybe | Cap situation? Not yet. | Likely lottery picks? One (Own)

Two words: Jonas Valanciunas. Remember the name, because the center could be the best thing to come out of the 2011 draft -- except he won't make his debut until 2012-13. In Euroleague action last season, he averaged 7.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in 14.9 minutes per game on 71 percent shooting. As an 18-year-old. Translated to 40 minutes per game? 20 points and 15 rebounds. It's not a stretch to say that the Raptors' 5th overall pick, who crushed it in the FIBA Under-19 tournament, is a star in the making.

And it might be best that he doesn't come over just yet. Without him, the Raptors can play out this season and have a shot at another future star in a loaded 2012 draft. The Raptors could have the worst record next season in the NBA, but with Valanciunas in tow and a defensive guru like Dwane Casey at the helm, the Raps could also make the biggest jump in 2012-13. Especially if they land a go-to scorer on the wing. Also, contrary to popular belief, Toronto is not an undesirable destination for free agents. This is a franchise on the rise, though they're not ready to launch. Yet.
Wizards, Hornets, Kings in running to become next Thunder - NBA - ESPN

Last edited by jeffb; 12-16-2011 at 07:27 PM.
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