Sham's unnecessarily great big draft board: Centres
June 21st, 2011

(Listed in no order other than the order they were thought of.) Any time you watch a game with Jonas Valanciunas in, randomly pause the live action, and I guarantee he will be making this face. Jonas Valanciunas – Valanciunas was a big minute player in the Euroleague aged only 18. You just don’t do that in the Euroleague, unless you’re Ricky Rubio. Right now, he compares somewhat to Joel Przybilla if Joel Przybilla had any offensive finesse. Valanciunas runs the pick and roll to a Lithuanian standard, is smooth, polished, controlled, never rushed, and highly poised, with good touch around the basket and a very nice free throw stroke. He does not shoot jumpers yet, but he’s such a quick learner and such a good foul shooter (89% in the Euroleague, 125-158 and 79% across all competitions) that it won’t take long. He is an extremely good rebounder through size, smarts and effort, and he blocks shots with his great wingspan and aforementioned effort level. More than likely, he will not stay Przybillay for long. This is in no small part because of his much higher offensive skillset. The free throw percentages already mentioned are a testament to that. Nonetheless, there are still flaws. Valaciunas is finesse more than power, doesn’t have a go-to move other than the pick-and-roll, and still has to beef up some. He was also consciously and constantly attacked by opposing Euroleague offenses, for he was the young and experienced one. And it is true that he struggled with that at times, giving up fouls on his pick-and-roll defense, and not always being in position. But it is also true that he improved noticeably during the season. Such is the common trend amongst Valanciunas’s story – if there’s something he can’t do, he learns it […]

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