Paul Jones: True value of Valanciunas
Old 10-15-2012, 12:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Raptors Paul Jones: True value of Valanciunas

http://wap.sportsnet.ca/basketball/2...ronto_raptors/


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There seems to be a number for everything in sports these days. Arguments are constantly being punctuated by stats, stats and more stats. But there is an old adage that says numbers don't bleed. Numbers can never truly measure how hard someone is willing to work and that's why some qualitative, old-time measures like the 'eye test', can still help prove things that numbers can't define.

For Toronto Raptor fans, such is the case with rookie centre Jonas Valaciunas. The usual numbers, like points, rebounds, blocked shots, and field goal percentage will be there for people to look at during his rookie season. Some will look at how he compares to other post players and even use the ever-popular per 36 minutes stat as a benchmark. But unless you are watching the game you won't see the other things that Valanciunas does on the floor. Skeptics will say it's a way to lower the expectations if his numbers don't stack up in comparison to other players, but in truth it's a matter of actually watching the game to see what he does for the team.

There is no stat for a big man rolling hard to the basket on a high screen-and-roll play that originates just above the top of the key. But when it creates driving lanes for the ball handler coming off the screen or collapses the defence to give a shooter just a bit more time to pull the trigger, you know it has paid dividends. There are great shooters that have been paid handsomely after playing with the likes of Dwight Howard or Shaquille O'Neal for the reason just mentioned.

Once the Raptors point guards get used to the sight of the big man rolling down the middle of the lane with his hands in the air, there will be highlight reel alley-oop passes and dunks delivered. After missing part of training camp, the chemistry will take some time to develop. Just look at Jose Calderon and Amir Johnson over the last few seasons.

What is it worth to a team like Toronto to have Valanciunas in the lane not only blocking shots but contesting and altering them as well? For a defensively-oriented squad, a challenged shot attempt is like adding fuel to a fire. When Valanciunas becomes more adept at defending a big player in the post with a bent arm and forearm on their back when they are trying to back him in, there will be fewer double teams and rotations needed for Toronto's defence. Ball handlers will be forced retreat even momentarily, as Valanciunas shows himself as a deterrent for screen-roll situations, which will also help the Raptors defence.

Head coach Dwane Casey has noted that Valanciunas is active as the defensive anchor patrolling the paint and he is communicating also. Casey joked that Valanciunas' accent makes it difficult to understand him at times but eventually his teammates will be accustomed to his voice. Again, communication is something that is valuable but difficult to quantify.

There is no stat to measure running the floor but Valanciunas has been well coached in this aspect of the game and it will get him and his teammates easy baskets as the season progresses. There is nothing worse than a point guard defending a fast break with a hard charging big man outrunning his counterparts on your squad. You have to defend him until you get help and then try to stop the ball at a reasonable distance from the hoop.

You regularly hear coaches and front office people use the term 'high motor'. Back in the old days it meant something plain and simple: playing hard. It used to be a given, but in this new era of entitlement where players are sometimes given court time without earning it, playing hard has become a skill. Somewhere old-timers like Charles Oakley, Dave Cowens and Moses Malone are shaking their heads. There will be no head shaking in Toronto with Valanciunas as he plays with effort and enthusiasm on a consistent basis.

No, there are no numbers to measure the aforementioned items that Valnaciunas will supply in great quantities this season. But perhaps the best reward for the big Lithuanian will come with smiles from teammates, as well as hand clapping, fist pumping, continued encouragment and positive verbal reinforcement from coaches that accompany team success.

To get a true measure of what Valanciunas will bring to the team this season fans will have to watch the games and not simply watch the numbers.
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Old 10-15-2012, 12:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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thats what I was thinking.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Why are they trying so hard to sell this guy?

As far as I've seen he hasn't been a disappointment...
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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exactly
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i cant wait till all the drummond haters from the other thread come to fawn all over this article and use it as a reference in their paper thin arguments.

cuz then im gonna re-post it, but with drummonds name in all the places JV's is now hahahaha
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by TORaptor4Ever View Post
Why are they trying so hard to sell this guy?

As far as I've seen he hasn't been a disappointment...
Maybe because the fanbase is blowing a load over Drummond.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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his market value atm is through the roof, dats why.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Maybe because the fanbase is blowing a load over Drummond.
Justifiably so!!!
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Superjudge View Post
i cant wait till all the drummond haters from the other thread come to fawn all over this article and use it as a reference in their paper thin arguments.

cuz then im gonna re-post it, but with drummonds name in all the places JV's is now hahahaha
Haha just as paperthin as your 3 pregame drummond arguement.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:18 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Justifiably so!!!

Of course, 2 good pre-season games from a rookie means a 13 page thread is abound. Lol


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Old 10-15-2012, 03:20 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffb View Post
Of course, 2 good pre-season games from a rookie means a 13 page thread is abound. Lol


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2/3 pre season games, 2shay.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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except I know what I'm talking about...you two guys...wel you and I both know you arent too sure... it's ok boys...live and learn, I will show you the path to enlightenment
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:06 PM   #14 (permalink)
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He actually rolls to the basket beautifully, it was pissing me off that they didn't utilize that in the preseason games. Give it a little time, he should be very dangerous.
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:20 PM   #15 (permalink)
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He actually rolls to the basket beautifully, it was pissing me off that they didn't utilize that in the preseason games. Give it a little time, he should be very dangerous.
So true. Hands high, visible presence... he's going to be good. Gotta love bigs that play to their length.
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Old 10-15-2012, 06:37 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I want to see V get the ball everytime hes in the post, see how many baskets he can get.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:28 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Does anyone else feel like they've read the "he rolls so hard, the opposing team shits pants" comment in about 12 different articles since it happened?

Yes, it's certainly a benefit, but I'm sorry, rolling hard isn't exactly what I'm looking for. To sneak into the playoffs, we'll need Val to not just alter shots, block out hard, and run the floor. We'll need blocks, rebounds, and at least a few putbacks a game from him. It may happen, it may not - he's still very young, and I have confidence that he'll develop into a nice player. But without him directly contributing to the final scoreline, I don't see us getting past 9th in the East.

I think the collective media has realized Val isn't dropping 40/20 in his rookie year, and they're now tempering people's expectations so we don't all turn on him come December.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:32 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Does anyone else feel like they've read the "he rolls so hard, the opposing team shits pants" comment in about 12 different articles since it happened?

Yes, it's certainly a benefit, but I'm sorry, rolling hard isn't exactly what I'm looking for. To sneak into the playoffs, we'll need Val to not just alter shots, block out hard, and run the floor. We'll need blocks, rebounds, and at least a few putbacks a game from him. It may happen, it may not - he's still very young, and I have confidence that he'll develop into a nice player. But without him directly contributing to the final scoreline, I don't see us getting past 9th in the East.

I think the collective media has realized Val isn't dropping 40/20 in his rookie year, and they're now tempering people's expectations so we don't all turn on him come December.
The media has been tempering expectations for a year now. He's a kid for god sakes.
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