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Jonas has "earned" the Starting Center Spot for Opening Night, according to Casey.

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  • Jonas has "earned" the Starting Center Spot for Opening Night, according to Casey.

    TORONTO - When the Raptors drafted Jonas Valanciunas fifth overall two summers ago the team thought it had finally found an answer in the middle.

    Still, even the most optimistic among the team's brass didn't expect the Lithuanian would start from Day 1.

    Yet, Valanciunas has won the starting centre job and will line up against Roy Hibbert when the 2012-13 season tips off on Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre.

    Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said Monday that he wasn't just throwing the rookie in to see what he could do. According to Casey, Valanciunas played his way into the job.

    "He's earned it. He's a guy that's talented. Does he make mistakes? Yes, most rookies do. But his upside is huge," Casey said.


    "I see nothing but great things for this young man down the road and probably a different type of greatness," said the coach.

    "Probably not big numbers, 25, 30 points a game, that's going to come down the road, but just everything else he does is going to have an impact on our team."

    It's a bold call, but the right one for the franchise.

    Valanciunas is the new face of the Raptors and as he has already demonstrated, a pretty decent basketball player, particularly defensively.

    Source
    This is fantastic news. From what he showed in Preseason, I see no reason why he wouldn't be starting.

    Perhaps this has been discussed already, in which case, apologies.
    This can of course get moved to the Jonas thread, but thought it could start a good conversation about our Starters. I guess at this point, they're all locked in except for SF .. of course its Fields spot to lose.
    Last edited by Joey; Tue Oct 30th, 2012, 12:46 PM.

  • #2
    I can't say I'm terribly surprised. Jonas seemed to be the best option at 5 even before training camp started.

    As for Fields, I agree that he hasn't impressed. But then again, Kleiza and Anderson haven't exactly done much to usurp him.

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    • #3
      wow. did dwane casey just predict 25-30pts a game for big V down the road...??

      "25, 30 points a game, that's going to come down the road,"
      The Baltic Beast is unstoppable!

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      • #4
        I'm not suprised that Valanciunas will be starting, as it is what I expected. I anticipated that he wouldn't be named as a starter right away, as they previously did with DeRozan, but would instead make him earn it - which he has.

        As for Fields, I think he fits nicely into the starting lineup. He doesn't need the ball to be effective and can help at both ends of the court. He brings a good balance to Bargnani/DeRozan/Lowry, who all need the ball in their hands to be most effective, offensively speaking.

        I'm still curious to see what the primary 2nd unit will be, beyond Calderon & Amir, since Lucas, Ross, Anderson, Kleiza, Davis and Gray are all in the mix.

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        • #5
          I'm surprised that anyone would be surprised about this. It's not like he's displacing Dwight Howard in the starting 5. The other options are an undersized Amir and a career backup in Gray. I've always thought that a large part of Amir's struggles with fouls, nagging injuries and consistency came from the fact they were asking too much of him at the wrong position. Val/Bargs with Amir/Davis splitting the remaining minutes makes perfect sense.

          Of course, JV is going to struggle from time to time and there will be some ugly nights but I'd rather throw him to the wolves than try and micromanage his development cause that rarely works.

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          • #6
            slaw wrote: View Post
            I'm surprised that anyone would be surprised about this. It's not like he's displacing Dwight Howard in the starting 5. The other options are an undersized Amir and a career backup in Gray. I've always thought that a large part of Amir's struggles with fouls, nagging injuries and consistency came from the fact they were asking too much of him at the wrong position. Val/Bargs with Amir/Davis splitting the remaining minutes makes perfect sense.

            Of course, JV is going to struggle from time to time and there will be some ugly nights but I'd rather throw him to the wolves than try and micromanage his development cause that rarely works.

            agreed. also for now the really the only thing that is holding him back a little at this stage is just his strength, which basically every rookie has issues with.

            I watched every game this pre-season and so far i got to say his intensity,positioning, rotating, boxing out etc is all really good at this stage in his career. Even his post-game and ability to play hard without fouling out is farther along than i expected. Follow that with you can keep him on the floor at clutch time considering he can play D and is an outstanding free-throw shooter for his position.

            As i expected, this spot was always his to lose

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            • #7
              I truly thought JV would come off the bench for the first couple weeks, get 10 or so games under his belt and then make the jump to starter, but I trust the coach and know this is what will be best for the team in the long run.

              As for Landry Fields and the the 3 spot, man am I disappointed. I thought for sure we would see a bit of his old shooting touch back....what the fuck happen to this guy?
              Twitter @WJ_FINDLAY

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              • #8
                I truly thought JV would come off the bench for the first couple weeks, get 10 or so games under his belt and then make the jump to starter, but I trust the coach and know this is what will be best for the team in the long run.

                As for Landry Fields and the the 3 spot, man am I disappointed. I thought for sure we would see a bit of his old shooting touch back....what the fuck happened to this guy?
                Twitter @WJ_FINDLAY

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                • #9
                  WJF wrote: View Post
                  As for Landry Fields and the the 3 spot, man am I disappointed. I thought for sure we would see a bit of his old shooting touch back....what the fuck happened to this guy?
                  Based on looking at the form of his "shot" (I use that term loosely) I am not expecting much improvement. The problem is that if Fields can't make jumpers, that leaves us with two poor shooters on the wings and that will make life tough for JV, Bargs and Lowry.

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                  • #10
                    slaw wrote: View Post
                    Based on looking at the form of his "shot" (I use that term loosely) I am not expecting much improvement. The problem is that if Fields can't make jumpers, that leaves us with two poor shooters on the wings and that will make life tough for JV, Bargs and Lowry.
                    No arc at all....even on his free throws.

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                    • #11
                      Casey should really consider starting Anderson.. we can't keep giving the other team a head start in games. And I think Anderson could help. He's a veteran, knows Casey's defensive schemes, and can shoot.

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                      • #12
                        planetmars wrote: View Post
                        Casey should really consider starting Anderson.. we can't keep giving the other team a head start in games. And I think Anderson could help. He's a veteran, knows Casey's defensive schemes, and can shoot.
                        +1
                        Official Pope of the Raptors sponsored by MLSE.

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                        • #13
                          Maybe he's been missing his 3's purposefully so he can go off on opening night.. Pacers would be shocked. Genius!

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                          • #14
                            play d and cut hard. he will still demand coverage because those are easy 2s at the basket if his man helps off of him.

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                            • #15
                              slaw wrote: View Post
                              Based on looking at the form of his "shot" (I use that term loosely) I am not expecting much improvement. The problem is that if Fields can't make jumpers, that leaves us with two poor shooters on the wings and that will make life tough for JV, Bargs and Lowry.
                              .. which is why T Ross is gonna get a lot more time than people realize. DD + Fields will not work .. neither can shoot outside 12 feet.

                              Im not surprised at all in what Ive seen from Landry - we overpaid for this guy plain and simple. Ive been impressed with his "glue guy" abilities .. getting weird rebounds, right place, right time, cutting to the hoop - but he cant shoot for the life of him (and this should not be a surprise to anyone).

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