Valanciunas Showing Glimpses of Potential
Young bigs are often the most difficult players to get a true appreciation for. With minds racing well beyond the pace their bodies can accommodate and the action on the court moving even faster than their brains can comprehend, they are typically both frustrating to evaluate and even more difficult to project.
Jonas Valanciunas displays many of these characteristics during his play. However, I see at least two major reasons for optimism as I both evaluate where he is right now and project where he has the ability to end up.
First, he shows absolutely no hesitation or passivity. Valanciunas is aggressive at the outset of games, looking for angles, playing at and around the front of the rim, and is appropriately physical. He is certainly not scared of contact, and initiates contact much more than a typical young big. A key place to see this is in opportunities for offensive rebounds. Valanciunas attacks defenders with his hips and uses the blades of his forearms effectively to create space. These are encouraging signs for the future.