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Old 12-16-2012, 09:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Jonas Valanciunas: False Messiah?

Jonas Valanciunas: False Messiah?

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I know most of us like to point to Andrea Bargnani as the cause of our defensive woes, but will letting him go be a panacea to our defensive deficiencies? Chrisholm mentions the PER that Bargnani (15.2) and Davis (21.1) have been giving up to opposing power forwards as evidence that our problems are more complex than a simple swap of Davis for Bargnani into the starting 5. We’re in his words only “1.9 points per 100 possessions better defensively when Davis in on the court.” We all like to point to Bargnani, but Jonas Valanciunas has also hurt us quite a bit this year defensively. Opposing centers have time and time again put up big games at the team's expense. Recently, Chris Kaman dropped 9 points in the opening quarter, to only score an additional 6 points for the entire game as Valanciunas turned spectator. During our last two wins, Valanciunas has essentially been a non-factor and barely seen any floor time. Bryan Colangelo has also mentioned that incorporating Valanciunas into the lineup in some ways has hurt our team defensively. At the same time, in his own words, he’s anointed Valanciunas to one day assume the role of “the face of the franchise”. Will he become a capable franchise player for us whom we can build around? Will he be our messiah whom we can rely on to take us beyond mediocrity? All the hoopla surrounding John Hollinger’s endorsement combined with Bryan Colangelo’s assurances of Valanciunas, has in some ways led to complacency with respect to taking a critical approach to his game. I rarely see someone question his defensive deficiencies on this board. We are so fixated on his potential that we tend to get overly defensive if someone were to criticize an element of his game. It appears that Valanciunas has a bright career ahead of him, but what if he doesn't turn out to be the defensive stopper that teams so desire in a center? I am not in any way shape or form answering “Yes” to that question, as it's way too early to write him off defensively; but what if that’s the case 2-3 years from now? What if one day Andre Drummond, whom we recently passed on in the draft, blossoms to become a solid center with defensive prowess while Valanciunas continues to struggle defensively? Bargnani’s play has definitely regressed from last season as he continues to be struggling on both ends of the floor. However, our troubles thus far surely extend beyond Bargnani; as the team for the most part has been fairly inconsistent as well. It’s understandable that a young prospect with a high ceiling gets playing time (as it's a necessity to his development), but have we in the process been too easy on Valanciunas? Colangelo has surely placed high expectations upon Valanciunas as someone to build around, but what if; contrary to his expectations, he becomes nothing more than a false messiah?
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Last edited by Raptors1995; 12-17-2012 at 01:01 AM.
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