Unlike the just-awarded MVP, by definition the Rookie of the Year for the Toronto Raptors has a limited number of nominees. The RoY Oak (cool – a full name!) must go to:
- Terrence Ross
- Jonas Valanciunas
- OR Quincy Acy
Terrence’s season was a roller-coaster ride. He would demonstrate flashes of his astonishing athleticism, then disappear for portions of games, or not see the floor at all. Ultimately I would judge his season a mild disappointment, even by the lenient standards of a rookie year. His 3-point shooting ability is why he was drafted higher than expected, and what he can build his career on, yet he shot 33.2%. Winning the Slam Dunk competition was exciting, but adds precisely zero wins to the team’s total. That’s enough carping. I look for better things from Terrence next season, and the one after that [Why is his name being floated about in trade rumors? Patience, people, patience - TR will be very good.]
Jonas Valanciunas joined the Raps this season after being drafted the prior year, which is why he’s eligible for the Oak. JV enjoyed a wonderful rookie season, apart from that unfortunate broken finger, which kept him out of 29 games. He started 57 of 62 matches, ending with almost 9 points and 6 boards per game. Healthy as those numbers are, I was particularly impressed by the multiple skills he showed on the offensive end. JV successfully attacked the basket from the low post with hook shots, but also was quite happy to fire away from 15 feet with a formful set shot. Don’t think about hacking this guy – he shot 78.9% from the charity stripe, a number many guards would be happy with. Defensively he’s a work in progress. His positioning once the ball goes up needs work. I expect his defensive rebounding number to almost double in 2 years. Speaking of double, I think that’s what he’ll be next year, a double-double man, while spiking his blocked shots to over 2 per game.
Quincy Acy is our last nominee, and the player who traveled the furthest, from unsung second-round draft pick to starting the year with the big team. Yes, he spent some time in the D-League, but played well upon returning. You can’t help but root for Quincy, an undersized power forward who’s doing his utmost to overcome being pigeon-holed as little more than the second coming of Reggie Evans (who rebounds and scraps, and nothing else). I like Quincy’s chances of sticking all next year, and making significant contributions. He’s an athlete, not the Tasmanian Devil, possessing a decent mid-range jump shot and excellent leaping ability.
The envelope please – the Oak goes to…..Jonas Valanciunas!!
Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.