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TORONTO,ON–As it stands, the Toronto Raptors pick in the 2011 NBA Draft in Jonas Valanciunas has defended Raptors GM, Bryan Colangelo’s decision on choosing the Lithuanian fifth overall.
However, doing so without saying a word. Instead, Valanciunas has proved his player value by dominating the U19 World Championships and putting up monster numbers.
Valanciunas is currently averaging 19.7 PPG along with 13 RPG, simply dominating the competition with efficency.
In addition to posting these remarkable numbers on an international stage, the 6’11 Lithuanian is shooting an astounding 66.7% from the field (22/33) in three games, including a made three point shot on his only attempt.
While most Toronto Raptor enthusiasts [including myself] were discouraged and confused about having Valanciunas as the franchise’s fifth pick in the draft, those that have been monitoring the U19 world championships, may have seen the light!
Maybe talks about owners and GM’s around the NBA congratulating Colangelo on his pick were true afterall. Maybe there truly is hope for the young Lithuanian prospect to make immediate noise in Toronto. Maybe this European big isn’t your prototypical European big.
But until it’s proven in the league, skeptics of the Euro movement will alway exist; although a “European Big” and German in Dirk Novitzki is fresh off leading his Mavericks to an NBA championship.
One thing is for sure; Jonas Valancuinas is looking like an absolute stud, on the verge of potentially earning MVP honours in the U19 World Championships; and Bryan Colangelo is currently grinning from ear to ear.
PHOTO COURTESY: FIBA