Zach Lowe doing awesome work again with a big section on JV.
But Lowe also points out Valaciunas' issues...One reason is simple: This team belongs to Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan, for better or worse. Even sets that don't start with those guys — a Kyle Lowry–Valanciunas pick-and-roll, for instance — probably will end with one of them isolating, curling around a screen, or taking a dribble handoff before dribbling a bunch and heaving a midrange jumper. Lots of Toronto possessions look great for 12 seconds, before devolving into hero ball for the last eight or 10. "He's third on the food chain," Casey says, "and sometimes even fourth. Our offense is built around Rudy and DeMar." Valanciunas is often left to simply get out of the way and prepare for an offensive rebound
But Valanciunas often rolls to the hoop before making any contact on his pick, meaning he has provided Kyle Lowry, Gay, or DeRozan with no daylight — no space to penetrate, no clear angle to hit Valanciunas in the lane. "He feels like he's open," Casey says, "but he's not. He's just so far down there. He needs to learn the short roll."
On defense, the Drakes employ a fairly aggressive pick-and-roll scheme that asks big men to jump out hard on ball handlers — or at least hang around the level of the pick. Valanciunas has the mobility to do that, and he's a hard worker. But the timing just isn't there. He'll often slide into help position just a beat late, leaving himself in no-man's-land — too late to cut off the ball handler or even get in the guy's way, but still far enough from his original mark that a dangerous passing lane is open.
Read the whole thing as they say. Good stuff on Rubio as well.