Name: Jonas Valanciunas
’12-’13 Season Grade: B+
Reason for Grade: Profound growth in first season
Season Highlight: Being named to NBA All-Rookie Team
Best Game: Hitting 16 of 18 FTs on way to 24 points in victory over Wizards on April 3
Needs improvement in: No one area of game is of concern…continued skills refinement garnered by experience will be expected. We’d like to see more defensive rebounds, which will probably happen organically as JV learns better positioning and boxing out.
In summary: Jonas advanced from youthful project player to solid professional in one injury-shortened season. That’s highly impressive, and most unusual. He gained the confidence of his defense-first coach, and started 57 of 62 games. Jonas demonstrated an ability to score in multiple ways, including an improving outside sort-of jump shot. His free-throwing shooting ability (78.9%) is already at a high level, which meant opponents hesitated to hack him, thus allowing him more opportunities to score unimpeded. Jonas showed no fear about playing against the NBA’s best big men, and kept his cool even while being goaded by thuggish opponents. He appeared to be very popular among his teammates, the press, and fans, being a good-humoured and friendly sort.
Next season’s outlook: !!!
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.