Jonas Valanciunas Gives Raptors Fans A Glimpse Of The Future

Posted by By at 11 July, at 21 : 51 PM Print

Jonas Valanciunas Gives Raptors Fans A Glimpse Of The Future

This was the scene on draft day.

The hopes of Raptors fans hearing David Stern say a name that would help them this coming season were dampened by the reality that 5th overall pick Jonas Valanciunas probably wouldn’t be U.S. bound for another few years.

This year’s FIBA Under-19 World Championships gave Raptors and NBA fans a peek into the future, and it looks pretty bright. Valanciunas led Lithuania to the gold medal in an 85-67 victory over Serbia and was also named MVP of the tournament. In the final game he had 36 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 steals.

Here are all 36 of his points

Over nine games Jonas averaged 23 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks. He also shot 60% from the floor and an impressive 81% from the free-throw line.

Due to buyout restrictionswith his Lithuanian team, Lietuvos Rytas, it looks like we won’t get to see Valanciunas over here until the 2012-2013 season. With his buyout in the neighborhood of $2.4 million, Jonas will have to pay $1.9 of that himself as Toronto is only allowed to pay a maximum of $500,000 towards a buyout. Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo doesn’t appear to mind waiting, and if what we just saw from the young man is a sign of what’s to come Raptors fans shouldn’t mind either.

“You’re looking at a pretty underdeveloped 19-year-old that is looking at going up against some pretty big players in the NBA. Getting him physically ready and acclimated to the culture is obviously going to take time.”

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