Toronto Raptors

NBA Draft: Toronto Raptors Steal Jonas Valanciunas with the 5th Pick

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 23:  Jonas Valanciunas (R) from Utena, Lithuania greets NBA Commissioner David Stern after he was picked #5 overall by the Toronto Raptors in the first round during the 2011 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center on June 23, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Sachin AroraCorrespondent IJune 24, 2011

Oh great, another Euro. Toronto Raptors fans all over the country are hot blooded over the Raptors' lottery selection of the Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas.

Let me get one thing across. Jonas is not your typical European.

He’s 7’0", but he is definitely not soft. Jonas isn’t a great shooter, but he is extremely active on the boards and can block tons of shots. He’s a high energy defender and attacks the rim hard offensively.

Put it this way, he’s NOT Andrea Bargnani.

Jonas could very well end up filling one of the Raps' biggest holes at the center position. He brings added toughness to the team and is already the best center on the team. Down the road, Jonas Valanciunas could be the Toronto Raptors franchise center.

An issue with Jonas is his buyout issues. He’s currently under contract with a Lithuanian club, and if he cannot negotiate a buyout, he will not be able to play for the Raptors untill the 2012-2013 season (the season after next season).

Considering there could be a possible lockout anyway, this isn’t a huge issue, especially with the Raptors still in rebuilding mode.

Jonas was expected to go No. 4 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and many scouts have said that he could end up being the best player out of this draft. I know most of you are thinking that Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker should have been the selection here, but it looks like Bryan Colangelo has faith in Jerryd Bayless and Jose Calderon.

Bayless is still young and has potential to be the franchise point guard of the future.

There could have definitely been worse selections, Raps fans. Jonas has the most upside out of anyone in this draft.Valanciunas is another project, but lately, the Raptors have been getting A’s on all their projects. Let’s hope that trend continues.

NBA Comparison:

Best case scenario: Joakim Noah’s energy with Pau Gasol’s offense

Worst Case Scenario: Primos Brezec

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