2011 Scouting Reports: Jonas Valanciunas

Jonas Valanciunas

Player:    Jonas Valanciunas
Specifics:     6’11 240 18 year old
Birth date:     May 6th 1992
Numbers:    8 pts and 5 rebs in 15 mins while shooting 70% and 91% from free throw line

Game Scouted:
1)  UNI v. LIE
2)  LIE v. CLA  ( via You Tube )

BACKGROUND:   Valanciunas is a Lithuania national star.  He lead the Lithuania team to the under 16 and under 18 European Championship.   He was the MVP of both tournaments.   In the 2010 Championship he averaged 19 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks.  In the final game he had 31 points and 18 rebounds. 

OVERALL:
Valanciunas is listed as the #3 prospect by NBA Draft Express.  He is listed as #4 by Chad Ford.  After watching the first game I didn’t see it..   This is the problem with watching one game and making an evaluation.  However, in the game I watched I saw nothing that makes me believe that  Jonas will be a successful NBA player.  He has very little lift.  He plays smaller than his size despite all the talk about his great length.   He didn’t make a single play that made me think NBA.  His offensive game was rolling to the basket on a pick and roll and nothing else.  Defensively, he makes an effort and he moves, but I didn’t think he  was impactful.   He played much of the game against former Blazers draft pick Joel Freeland and Freeland out played him significantly.  Freeland has not made it to the NBA yet and was a late 1st round pick. 

I was so surprised by what I saw in contrast to the other experts that I watched a collection of his You Tube videos and game portions.  I saw a lot of the same things.  In the Under 18 championships he is simply bigger and taller than everyone and plays at the rim.  He does a nice job of not bringing the ball down and keeping it high to finish.  However he still didn’t show the lift he will need in the NBA.  He is not jumping over anyone.  He finished an alley oop with a lay-up.  

To his credit he has very good hands.  He catches everything that comes his way.  When he gets the ball around the rim he has a nice touch.   He plays the pick and roll very well fundamentally and makes himself available for the pass.  He is an elite free throw shooter which is representative of a nice touch.    

QUICK SYNOPSIS
In my opinion he lacks the athleticism to be a front line NBA player.  Has good hands and plays the game fundamentally correct which will allow him to be an NBA player in a team’s rotation.    

OFFENSE
Overall:  The only way he was used was in the pick and roll.  He sets a lot of picks and rolls to the basket well.  He opens up and makes himself available.  He catches well and with his size is able to finish at the rim well.   He gets the ball on the outside and moves it along to his teammates but showed no dribble game, no post game and no shooting game.  He never brings the ball down.  He catches and keeps it high going to the rim.  It helps him a ton.   Is a great free throw shooter.  Shots 90% from the line. 

Post Game:    In all the games I watched he only had one post up.  He finished it.  He didn’t show a face up game.  His move was methodical.  More often he is going to have a hard time getting the shot off in the paint.

Shooting:   He didn’t take an outside shot

Rebounding:   He is active for some tip ins but never made an out of area play.  Has good hands and keeps balls alive

Passing:   Very comfortable with the ball on the outside and gets the offense going

Picks:   This is his strength.  He sets picks and rolls off the picks.  However, he sets picks that will be fouls in the NBA

Understanding:   Played the game hard.

DEFENSE
Overall:   He is very active and usually in the right place.  However, I thought he had very little impact on the plays.   Guys regularly finished over him or through him.   He covers a decent amount of ground.   He lacks a quick jump and I felt like he didn’t have enough lift.   He take a while to coil his jump and my concern is when he gains weight it will be even more so

Post Defense:   Regularly overpowered and length didn’t seem t have an impact

On Floor Defense:   Steps out well on the pick and roll and usually holds his ground forcing the ball handler to alter his path

Movement:   Moves well.  Though as he gains weight I am concerned on the lack of athleticism

Pick and Roll D:   Very active and steps out well.  Attempts to get back to his man often doesn’t in enough time

Rebounding:  Great hands – keeps balls alive and taps them to himself.   He boxes out.  Doesn’t go out of area very often 

Shot Blocking:   For his size felt he had less impact on shots then he should have

SKILLS
Balance.   Solid
Play Hard:  Yes
Feet:   Moves well
Pressure:    Hard to tell
Attitude:   Plays the game hard – lead his U 16 and U18 teams to titles and was the best player

PROJECTIONS
Best Case Scenario:    10 points 10 rebounds
Likely Case Scenario:   Tiago Splitter
Worst Case Scenario:  Kosta Koufas 

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2011 Utah Jazz Draft Central