2013 NBA Summer League: Toronto Raptors’ Jonas Valanciunas MVP Thus Far in Vegas
Jonas Valanciunas played his rookie year with the Toronto Raptors last season and seemed to get better as the NBA season rolled along. In 62 games, Valanciunas averaged 8.9 points, six rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game while shooting 55.7 percent from the field in just 23.9 minutes per game.
Valanciunas saw a spike in his playing time and his minutes in the latter part of the season, though. In 15 games in March, Valanciunas played 27.1 minutes per game and averaged 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game on 62 percent shooting, In seven April games, the big Lithuanian played 31.6 minutes per game and averaged 14.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game while shooting 55.8 percent from the field.
This off-season, though, the Raptors wanted the 21-year-old Valanciunas to get as much run as possible, which is why they sent him to Las Vegas this past week as a member of their Summer League squad. Through the Raptors’ first four games in Sin City, though, it’s pretty clear that Valanciunas is probably too good to be at Summer League, even if he is young and it’s good to get him some work in.
Through Toronto’s four games, Valanciunas has averaged 18.8 points, 10 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.8 blocks per game while shooting 56.1 percent from the floor in 29.3 minutes per game. He’s also shown the ability to get to the foul line where he’s shot a solid 87.9 percent. He’s also been able to put those numbers up while not playing with any NBA-caliber point guards, which is quite impressive.
Valanciunas has not only been proficient in Summer League, but he’s also been consistent. His low point-total for a game in the past week is 15 points and his low rebound total has been just seven boards.
There’s no doubt that Valanciunas still has work to do on both ends of the floor, but it’s clear that this young player is going to be in the league for a long time. He’s definitely been the MVP at Summer League thus far and he might wind up being an All-Star in the NBA in the not-so-distant future if he keeps progressing. One thing’s for sure, though, the Raptors definitely have themselves a gym in this guy.