The Toronto Raptors needed a strong finish to their season, and they have worked their way within one game of avoiding last place in the Atlantic Division after a win over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday. The two teams will play on Friday night, but the Raptors will likely be without rookie Jonas Valanciunas as he spent Tuesday in a Chicago hospital after hurting his neck. It has been a solid season for Valanciunas, averaging 8.7 points a game and six rebounds. There are obviously some things he needs to work on before next season to take his game to the next level.
The biggest thing would be his weight. You can’t be 6’11” in the NBA and weigh just 231 pounds. That is going to require an offseason of building up some bulk and maybe gaining 20 pounds so he can play with the bigger players in the league. The key of Valanciunas’ game though is how well he shoots. When you can shoot over 55%, you’ve got something good going for you.
It is a shame that he got hurt, because he was really starting to pick up his scoring and had averaged over 16 points a game in his last four contests before Tuesday’s injury. I would think that the Raptors would consider just shutting Valanciunas down for the rest of the season with the team out of playoff contention. Toronto may want to see what more they can get out of him though in the final few games. It appears that the injury isn’t too severe. but Toronto has a potential secondary piece for Rudy Gay next season. The Raptors need to just let Valanciunas sit for the last three games.