Wrote this up for the Pistons fans, thought I'd share with my brethren between the 2-7 picks:
My Extensive Review of Jonas Valanciunas:
I will be updating this with new paragraphs. I'm only posting it early so I can return and edit it instead of typing it all up and losing my paragraphs. If people like this enough I will bring in video evidence of my points. I won't waste time telling you things you could read else where more in depth, I will only summarize in these instances. I've only watched two full games and roughly another hour of highlights over the past two days.
Valanciunas is not looked at as a tremendous talent for no reason. This is obvious to any and everyone. These paragraph will cover his athleticism and body. Now this is still a question mark to me. It is very hard to see how high he can actually jump because of his frame. He's at least 6'10" and has at least a 7'5" wingspan. If I have to judge based on the video I've seen, it's 6'11" and 7'6". This hinders my ability to judge his leap as he does not jump any more than he has to, and he does not have to jump much to dunk the ball. The few blocks I've seen from him seem to suggest he can hit the top of the backboard square with his fingertips, maybe a little less than that. It worries me on a defensive shot blocker perspective. His timing seems legit, but his explosiveness leaves something to be desired.
The best aspect of his game is easily his ability to run the floor. He runs hard and very well in every game. It's impossible to know how fast he is as I can only judge relative to his competition, but he runs at least as well as Greg Monroe by my eyes. He understands spacing very well and gets into open passing lanes very well as well. This gets him very many open dunks, which is where the majority of his offensive game comes from. Because of his understanding of spacing, he has amazing potential in the pick and roll offense. He always knows when and how hard to roll to the basket. He plays hard constantly and has a great motor.
He is not as elegant or graceful as some of his counterparts in this draft. He looks awkward on the court sometimes. This is never more true than when he his backing someone down in the post. On at least one play I had to watch 3 or 4 times, for this review, to see if he traveled. He didn't, however, the shuffle of his feet was, to be frank, disgusting to watch. He does not use power very well and he will not be able to use this same technique in the NBA. He pushed with only his back and used quick steps to keep his feet underneath him. He had no power coming from the ground up to push the defender back. The lack of post ups in all of my viewing, and in highlight reels, reveals that he is not anywhere near ready in that aspect of his game.
While backing down people may not be his forte, he does have other ways of being useful in the post. He is great turning over his left shoulder and doing little hook shots off the glass. I was very impressed with this. His right shoulder is not as proficient. Again, here, he will have to jump higher to get the shot off at the NBA level. He does not jump even as much as he needs to to dunk in this move. It is not an amazing shot, nor a go to move yet, but it is definitely his most ready move at this point.
A few NBA ready or exceptional things that I've noticed about him are the following. He is a tremendous FT shooter for someone his size. I was very impressed that he was shooting, by my count, 70+% at such a young age. He has the ability to run the court as well, as I've already stated. His coachability is also something I was really impressed with. This kid is a hard worker, hard runner, and he sits and listens whenever his coach is talking to him. His length will also be very useful to him in the future. He also as an extremely quick release around the basket and in his post up moves. This will definitely benefit him in the future. Where as Monroe was confident his shot would not be blocked coming in, or had that attitude about his shot when he went of for it, Valanciunas shoots with a sense of urgency, a sense that if he doesn't get it off in his shot off when he is open, someone will block him out of no where. This will benefit him on the NBA level where people really will block him out of no where.
Things I'm not happy with or am disappointed with are as follows: The fact that he does not jump as high has he can on every dunk and shot disappoints me. He's a fine dunker and runner, but he does not dunk over people seemingly ever. Now, precautionary statement: He seems to have started doing this more often in the later tape I watched. It may be the case that he is more confident in his leaping ability now, but for the better part of my tape watching, he would jump up and let go of the ball, with a weird floater that really seemed more like a "faller," motion. Not dominating like he could is a very real possibility with him. There is no questioning his motor or his willingness to compete, but his willingness to dominate and to impose his will may be questioned.
Feel free to ask questions as I may have forgotten some things in this write up (I ended up doing it all in one go without rereading it).