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2013.07.25 15:40

Jonas Valančiunas gets MVP at Summer League

DELFI EN | The Lithuania Tribune2013.07.25 15:40

The young Lithuanian of the Toronto Raptors – Jonas Valančiunas – has been voted MVP (most valuable player) during the Summer League of the NBA held in Las Vegas. 

The young Lithuanian of the Toronto Raptors – Jonas Valančiunas – has been voted MVP (most valuable player) during the Summer League of the NBA held in Las Vegas.

The Summer League is a shortened season where rookies, second-year players and unsigned prospects along with D-league players mix together on experimental team-rosters to let coaches see what line-ups work and which ones do not.

It is also an opportunity for players who never got a lot of minutes in the regular season to prove themselves.

Valančiunas seems to have done just that. He averaged nearly 19 points and 10 boards in his summer-league debut. This was enough to win him the MVP award.

During his rookie year in the NBA, he showed flashes of promise, averaging nine points and six rebounds and making it on the all-rookie second-team. It was obvious though that his skinny-frame was hindering his success when he would get pushed-around by bulkier NBA players.

During his rookie year in the NBA, he showed flashes of promise, averaging nine points and six rebounds and making it on the all-rookie second-team.

Apparently he has been hitting the weight-room in the off-season as he came into summer league with noticeably more muscle-mass added to his 6’11″ frame. This is crucial, especially for Valančiunas’ style of play where he is not afraid to “bang” on the inside and take hits to draw fouls.

Along with his inner-toughness and lack of fear, he does possess many low-post skills and a soft touch around the basket. No one, however, would ever accuse him of being a “soft” or “European-style finesse-player”, like his former teammate Andrea Barganni whom the Raptors traded to the Knicks recently.

It seems as though Jonas is developing his game quite well and he takes pride in his efficiency as a player.  He averaged over eight free-throw attempts a game where he made them at almost a 90 per cent clip.

No one, however, would ever accuse him of being a “soft”or “European-style finesse-player”.

His overall field-goal percentage is over 56 per cent, making a majority of shots he attempts. Apparently, he has made himself a double-threat, able to knock down 15 ft elbow-jumpers or finish at the rim where he draws fouls and then knocks down the subsequent free-throws.

The rest of the summer Jonas has committed to play for the Lithuanian National Team in the upcoming Eurobasket 2013 tournament held in Slovenia beginning in late August. There he will take the court with the other promising Lithuanian rookie, Donatas Motiejunas. This should make Lithuania quite formidable, especially in the front court.

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