5. Center – Toronto Raptors select Jonas Valanciunas
The seven-year run of playoff success that the Toronto Raptors are enjoying has continued even though two key components to its existence are no longer with the team. DeMar DeRozan was traded in the 2018 off-season for Kawhi Leonard, and then before the 2019 trade deadline, Jonas Valanciunas was upgraded to Marc Gasol.
This is the beautiful and ugly part of drafting well. The Raptors need a center this off-season, but to win the NBA Title in 2019, management decided to turn an in his prime Jonas Valanciunas into a veteran like Marc Gasol.
Selected fifth overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, Jonas Valanciunas spent a year in Europe before making his way to the Toronto Raptors. He has a career average of 12.4 points per game and 8.9 rebounds. What was impressive about Valanciunas’ time in Toronto is that during his five playoff runs he had in Toronto, it’s arguable whether he or Norman Powell at times was the Raptors best playoff performer.
He appeared in 43 playoff games with the Toronto Raptors and ranked third on the team in shots blocked with 479 all-time. He is also second all-time in total rebounds as a Raptor with 3,961.