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Nites 10-29-2012 05:25 PM

Dwane Casey says Jonas has earned his starting job

Before the pre-season, it was easy to expect that rookie Jonas Valanciunas would start his NBA career as a reserve.

Rookies are not often rewarded with immediate starting spots, especially when they are expected to be the last line of defence before the rim. And with two viable alternatives in Amir Johnson and Aaron Gray (for matchup purposes against plodding big men), the smart money had Valanciunas coming off of the bench on Wednesday night in Indiana.

Instead, he will almost certainly be starting against Roy Hibbert of the Pacers.

“As a matter of fact, he’s earned it,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s a guy who is talented. Does he make mistakes? Yes, as most rookies do. His upside is huge. It’s also time to give him a taste of how the game is played, how guys like Hibbert, guys like [Brooklyn’s Brook] Lopez [play]. He’s our future. He’s our foundation in the middle. So, why not now? Our other guys are mature enough and professional enough to understand it.”

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In six pre-season games, five of which were starts, Valanciunas averaged 8.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. He is expected to start along side Andrea Bargnani, Landry Fields, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.

• On Saturday, the Raptors released centre Jamaal Magloire, the first Canadian ever to play for the Raptors. On Monday, Casey praised Magloire for his time in Toronto.

“He is a first-class human being,” Casey said. “To me, what he did for our team last year is irreplaceable. He started the foundation of toughness, the defensive approach, communication, the whole nine yards. He started that. Him and Bryan [Colangelo] are going to sit down and talk about his role with us. We want him around, working with the players, in the community. He is what the NBA is about. He is a … Canadian, and the country should be proud that they have a guy that exemplifies the way you should live, on the court and off the court, as a basketball player.”

Magloire is expected to take a role within the Raptors organization if he does not catch on with another team.

• This statistic comes courtesy of John Schuhmann of nba.com: Of the 21 teams that have lost fewer than two pre-season games since the 2001-02 season (excluded the lockout-shortened pre-season last year), 19 of them went on to make the playoffs.

The only exceptions were two incarnations of the Utah Jazz: the 2003-04 club and the 2010-11 club. The Raptors went 6-1 in the pre-season.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey says Jonas Valanciunas has earned his starting job | NBA | Sports | National Post

0nekhmer 10-29-2012 07:18 PM

Jv has definitely surprised me with the lack of mistakes hes making.

halphbreedballer 10-29-2012 07:22 PM

I hate to say I told you so.

Superjudge 10-29-2012 07:28 PM

then dont, because you didnt know.,


Dario 10-30-2012 01:44 AM

lets look at our legit C's hmmm.... Aaron Gray. You deserve starter minutes JV!

Admiral 10-30-2012 08:41 AM

looking at our roster there's only a few players I'd put at C
JV, gray, bargs, and probably amir
the push for bargs at PF is pretty much final these days so he's out
I feel like they want to play the "young" bigs more than gray this year so he's on the bench
so its between JV and amir and since JV is the starting C of the future and he's shown a surprising lack of mistakes and ability to stay on the floor for the most part then why not start him
besides, i think they like amir off the bench and he has good chemistry with jose who is not off the bench too

RAPMAN 10-30-2012 03:04 PM

The last time a No. 5 overall draft pick started for the Raptors in his rookie season, that player put the franchise on the NBA map. Lets hope history repeats itself.

LET'S GO RAPTORS!!!!! 10-30-2012 07:01 PM


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