Lowe: Valanciunas still looking to make a leap
Old 12-03-2013, 11:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Raptors Lowe: Valanciunas still looking to make a leap

The young NBA players who are looking to make the leap to greatness - Grantland


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I've tried to avoid second-year players here, but I'll make Valanciunas an exception, since he came via the 2011 draft and carried very high expectations into this season after hitting double figures in 14 of his last 15 games last season, flashing a polished post-up game in the process.

But Valanciunas's game had stagnated before a ferocious 18-point, 11-rebound effort against Denver on Sunday. 1 His minutes are barely up, and Dwane Casey hasn't consistently trusted Valanciunas to play crunch time —mostly because of Valanciunas's struggles to execute Toronto's defensive schemes. He's using just 17.5 percent of Toronto's possessions, a below-average number for a high-profile starter, and barely above his rookie-year share.

One reason is simple: This team belongs to Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan, for better or worse. Even sets that don't start with those guys — a Kyle Lowry–Valanciunas pick-and-roll, for instance —probably will end with one of them isolating, curling around a screen, or taking a dribble handoff before dribbling a bunch and heaving a midrange jumper. Lots of Toronto possessions look great for 12 seconds, before devolving into hero ball for the last eight or 10. "He's third on the food chain," Casey says, "and sometimes even fourth. Our offense is built around Rudy and DeMar." Valanciunas is often left to simply get out of the way and prepare for an offensive rebound.
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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if gay goes, I'd like half of our schemes to be lowry P&R with majority of them being with val, and the other half of the schemes revolving around Derozan either a post up move or a roll around a screen play. our new defence+3pt specialist SF would help space the floor for these moves.

god, with gay gone, I truly believe our offence can be top notch. with casey gone too, it could be championship level


hold up! maybe MU knows how good our team could be without casey, and with gay gone, so he's keeping both so we get a decent pick in the draft (think late lottery or so) then a simple trade of gay, then hire sloan, and go for a deep run playoffs plus 50+ win season next season, then a 60+win season in 2016 and a chip!

man can dream
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Old 12-03-2013, 01:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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and this goes back to why I don't blame gat as much as some do. The biggest fault lies with casey for playing a style that only encourages players that have bad habits to make them worse. If you know gay has bad selection and doesn't do well in isolations, why the heck would you implement an offense that make that a focal point???
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Old 12-03-2013, 01:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It's worth clicking that link btw. There's more about the Raptors/Valanciunas and it's interesting. An interesting article overall.
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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and this goes back to why I don't blame gat as much as some do. The biggest fault lies with casey for playing a style that only encourages players that have bad habits to make them worse. If you know gay has bad selection and doesn't do well in isolations, why the heck would you implement an offense that make that a focal point???
He's our guy doug, jonas looked like he needed a blow
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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this picture is priceless. Casey even puts down a cleverly disguised sign to signal what type of offense he wants them to run.
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Open...? Denver has three guys with a foot in the paint. JV is the second pass in that scenario.
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Open...? Denver has three guys with a foot in the paint. JV is the second pass in that scenario.
the picture is used to illustrate what Jonas is thinking. This is the biggest thing he needs to progress with to get better. He gets down on himself and his teammates far too quickly. It's not unlike how we all want him to make that really big jump - so does he - when he should be concentrating on just making progress and keeping his head in the game no matter what.
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Open...? Denver has three guys with a foot in the paint. JV is the second pass in that scenario.
That's the point. The article is about where Valanciunas is failing at the moment and where he needs to improve.

I'll just go ahead and post the rest of it:

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But it's not all on the wing "stars." The classic image of Valanciunas to this point is of him setting a pick, rolling down the lane, and raising both his arms in the air, convinced he's wide open — and then pouting when he doesn't get the ball:

But Valanciunas often rolls to the hoop before making any contact on his pick, meaning he has provided Kyle Lowry, Gay, or DeRozan with no daylight — no space to penetrate, no clear angle to hit Valanciunas in the lane. "He feels like he's open," Casey says, "but he's not. He's just so far down there. He needs to learn the short roll."

Casey doesn't mind when Valanciunas cuts hard to the rim without really screening, but he'd prefer the big fella lay the wood on dudes much more often.

On defense, the Drakes employ a fairly aggressive pick-and-roll scheme that asks big men to jump out hard on ball handlers — or at least hang around the level of the pick. Valanciunas has the mobility to do that, and he's a hard worker. But the timing just isn't there. He'll often slide into help position just a beat late, leaving himself in no-man's-land — too late to cut off the ball handler or even get in the guy's way, but still far enough from his original mark that a dangerous passing lane is open.


"He's still learning the speed of the game at this level," Casey says. "He works his butt off. He has as much potential as any of the bigs I've ever worked with. But he needs to spend the summer in New York or L.A., playing pickup with guys that are 6-7 or 6-8 — to get used to their speed."

Here he is leaving Mozgov (on the left side) to contain Nate Robinson jetting off a screen, though he does so in such a way that he's too late to cut off the pass to Robinson, and yet still far enough from Mozgov to open up the possibility of a Robinson-to-Mozgov pass:

It'll come. And if the Drakes decide to blow things up and trade one (or all) of their high-priced perimeter guys, Valanciunas will have plenty more chances to hone a promising post game — and a jump shot Casey wants him to take more often.
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I thought the quote about the speed of the game was interesting. He needs to go to LA or NY over the summer - as opposed to playing for his national team? That would be nice to see. At least for one year.
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:32 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I thought the quote about the speed of the game was interesting. He needs to go to LA or NY over the summer - as opposed to playing for his national team? That would be nice to see. At least for one year.
I was just about to write something very similar. Yep. I guess we know what Casey thinks about his FIBA commitments.
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:50 PM   #12 (permalink)
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This is the most boring team I've endured watching over the years, it's beyond frustrating.

Last edited by rockthetdot; 12-03-2013 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:13 PM   #13 (permalink)
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this team really is frustrating to watch. just play some more pick and roll, even the shot distribution and pick up the pace of play and we have something. our bigs are mobile enough to get out and run after a defensive stop, there is no reason we should be running half court sets as much as we are. of course this is all easier said than done.
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
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this team really is frustrating to watch. just play some more pick and roll, even the shot distribution and pick up the pace of play and we have something. our bigs are mobile enough to get out and run after a defensive stop, there is no reason we should be running half court sets as much as we are. of course this is all easier said than done.
Lowe makes a great point about the pick and roll (one I have made of course) later in his piece, while considering Tristan Thompson.

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That has left Kyrie Irving or Jarrett Jack to run a stagnant high pick-and-roll, which was effective in the 2007 NBA with LeBron James, but isn't effective in a 2013 NBA that has learned Tom Thibodeau's defensive principles.
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Old 12-03-2013, 05:15 PM   #15 (permalink)
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this picture is priceless. Casey even puts down a cleverly disguised sign to signal what type of offense he wants them to run.
Not trying to stand up for Rudy here. But that is an awful passing lane for Rudy to feed Jonas. That has to get through two Denver players and one who's 7 feet. The position that Jonas is in is not conducive to getting that ball. Then if Rudy throws a turnover, everyone will jump and say he's terrible and can't even make a pass.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:06 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Not trying to stand up for Rudy here. But that is an awful passing lane for Rudy to feed Jonas. That has to get through two Denver players and one who's 7 feet. The position that Jonas is in is not conducive to getting that ball. Then if Rudy throws a turnover, everyone will jump and say he's terrible and can't even make a pass.
That is precisely what the above posters are saying....
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:24 PM   #17 (permalink)
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That is precisely what the above posters are saying....
My fault. very briefly skimmed the thread
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:51 PM   #18 (permalink)
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This might not be perfect passing lane for Jonas but should be easy decision for Rudy.
What Rudy thinks: oh look opening i can dribble a little and chuck a shot.
What he should do: dribble towards the rim, making Mozgov to help on D Leaving Denver guy on the left (can't figure out who that is) either close on JV or protect his man on the 3.
9 times out of 10 player would help on JV leading to obvious pass for a 3
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:39 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Frankly the obvious play is to swing the ball to DeMar, who would have a touch-pass to a wide open JV (or at least JV with deep-post position and sealing his man) with DeRozan's sagging man scrambling back out to the perimeter.
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:36 AM   #20 (permalink)
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My fault. very briefly skimmed the thread
Oh no worries....I sounded more harsh than I intended.
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