I know that is what some of you are thinking.
It's true, we dropped out of the Enes Kanter race by slipping to fifth overall but now pundits like Chad Ford are mocking Jonas Valanciunas to to the Raptors.
A lot of it has to do with the fact that Bryan Colangelo has openly been trying to create a Euroleague team north of the border but this is just absurd.
“Many NBA scouts insist Valanciunas could be the best international player in the draft. While Raptors president Bryan Colangelo hasn’t been afraid to gamble on European players in the past, there are concerns about the buyout terms of Valanciunas’ contract — some teams are skeptical that he’ll be in the NBA for the next few years. Still, he appears to be the most likely choice for the Raptors.”
[Note: Kanter and Knight are already off the board in Ford’s mock]
Now I am not saying that Jonas is not a terrific talent, because I think he is, but to mock Jonas Valanciunas to the Raptors at No. 5 is just a little belittling to Bryan Colangelo’s intelligence.
Yes, all of Raptor nation will gasp when Bryan Colangelo does indeed bring Jonas Valanciunas in for a workout but that just means he is doing his due diligence.
Jonas Valanciunas was not on his five man draft board before we slipped in the draft and there is no reason to think he will deviate from his board with Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker both likely to be available at number five overall.
With that said Jonas Valanciunas is not that bad of a selection…sometime around the eighth pick or later. I think he has way more NBA potential than Jan Vesely who is currently more highly regarded.
Jonas is no Andrea Bargnani and can do everything he can’t, including defend, rebound and attack the basket at will and with ferocity.
“Jonas is a very talented Lithuanian big man who unlike most European players is a solid rebounder and adept shot blocker. He may not get the love of a Jan Vesely but he can be and actually looks like a safer pick, especially at this point of the draft. Valanciunas is a solid finisher around the rim and looks to attack it when given the chance. While he projects as a power forward when he first enters the league, his lack or range and wide frame suggest that once he adds some muscle that he may very well be shifted to the center position.”
I really like Valanciunas as a late lottery pick and I would not fault that Raptors for trading down to select him if they manage to land someone like Jonny Flynn this offseason.
What do you think Raptors fans? Should the Raptors trade down to select Valanciunas or stay at No. 5 for Walker or Knight?