Jonas Valančiūnas

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Jonas Valančiūnas
Jonas Valanciunas.jpg
No. 17 – Toronto Raptors
Position Center
League NBA
Personal information
Born (1992-05-06) 6 May 1992 (age 22)
Utena, Lithuania
Nationality Lithuanian
Listed height 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)
Listed weight 240 lb (109 kg)
Career information
NBA draft 2011 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5th overall
Selected by the Toronto Raptors
Pro career 2008–present
Career history
2008–2010 Vilnius Perlas
2010–2012 Vilnius Lietuvos Rytas
2012–present Toronto Raptors
Career highlights and awards
Stats at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Jonas Valančiūnas (Lithuanian pronunciation: ​[ˈjoːn̪ɐs̪ vɐɫɐn̪ʲˈt͡ʃʲûːn̪ɐs̪]; born 6 May 1992) is a Lithuanian professional basketball player who currently plays for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is a member of the Lithuanian national basketball team. Valančiūnas was selected by the Toronto Raptors with the fifth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Professional career[edit]

European career[edit]

Valančiūnas started playing professionally for Perlas in 2008. During the 2008–09 season the team played in the Lithuanian National Basketball League (NKL), Lithuania's second strongest league, but moved up to the Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL) the following season. In January 2009 Valančiūnas signed a long-term contract with Lithuanian powerhouse Lietuvos Rytas, but, as Perlas was Lietuvos Rytas' daughter club, he didn't move to Lietuvos Rytas instantly and stayed in Perlas for the first half of the 2009–10 season.[1]

On 17 January 2010 he finally moved to Lietuvos Rytas. A month after that Lietuvos Rytas won the 2010 edition of Lithuanian Basketball Federation (LKF) Cup. While playing there, Valančiūnas has played in the LKL Finals three times, in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The team won the 2010 series against Žalgiris 4–3, but lost to the same team the following year 1–4 and 0-3 in 2012.

Jonas Valančiūnas became February's MVP in the VTB United League in 2012.[2] Two months later he won the Eurocup Rising Star award and was named in the All-Eurocup squad. He averaged 10.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg and 1.6 bpg while shooting 63.4% from the field, leading Lietuvos Rytas to third place.

Valančiūnas participated in three LKL All-Star Games, the 2010, 2011 and 2012 LKL All-Star Games. During the 2011 All-Star Game Valančiūnas scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, helping the "Lithuanians" win the game. He was named as the 2011 LKL All-Star Game MVP. During the 2012 game he led his team to victory, scoring 25 points including one three-pointer, grabbing 13 rebounds and dishing out 6 assists. He won the MVP award once again.[3]

Jonas Valančiūnas was named Lithuania Basketball Player of the Year twice, on 27 December 2011 [4] and on 11 December 2012.[5] He was also twice named the FIBA European Young Player of the Year, on 13 February 2012 [6] and on 6 February 2013.[7]

International career[edit]

Valančiūnas with Lithuania U-19 team

Valančiūnas made his debut for the junior national team of Lithuania in the 2008 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship in Italy. He dominated throughout the tournament, averaging 14.3 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 23.5 minutes of action. His team went on to win the gold medal and he was chosen as the MVP.[8]

In the summer of 2009, Valančiūnas participated in the European Under-18 All-Star Game during EuroBasket 2009 in Poland. He dominated the game as he scored 18 points, grabbed 19 rebounds, blocked three shots and helped the "Blue Team" beat the "White Team" 77:75.[9] Valančiūnas was later named the MVP of the All-Star game.

One year later, Valančiūnas led Lithuania to another gold medal. Lithuania dominated in the 2010 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship held in Lithuania. Valančiūnas averaged 19.4 points, 13.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks, and was voted as the MVP.[10]

Valančiūnas vs Kosta Koufos

Valančiūnas was also a member of the Lithuanian Under-19 basketball team, which competed in the 2011 FIBA Under-19 World Championship in Latvia. He led his team to capture the gold medal, averaging 23.0 points, 13.9 rebounds and 3.2 blocks in 31 minutes of game action. He was later named the tournament MVP. Valančiūnas scored 36 points in the gold medal game against Serbia, which was the highest points scored in a game by any player in the tournament.[11] To this date he is the only player to achieve an MVP and Gold Medal in all of his FIBA U-tournaments.

Valančiūnas with senior team

Valančiūnas was on the senior men's Lithuanian national basketball team roster for EuroBasket 2011, which took place in Lithuania. Valančiūnas debuted with Lithuania's senior men's national basketball team on 6 August 2011. In his debut match against Czech Republic, he scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.[12] After a strong performance in friendly pre-EuroBasket'11 matches, Valančiūnas was leading the Lithuanian national team with 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.[13] Although Valančiūnas failed to be any kind of a leader in the first 4 games of EuroBasket 2011 (among them missing the game against Turkey), he then became one of the key players, averaging 8.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in just 15.7 minutes of game action.[14] He also helped Lithuania to claim the 5th spot, which guaranteed qualification for the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

In 2013, Valančiūnas won a silver medal at the EuroBasket tournament.

NBA career[edit]

Valančiūnas blocks Greg Monroe

Toronto Raptors[edit]

Valančiūnas was considered as a top prospect at the 2011 NBA Draft, held on 23 June 2011, and was drafted 5th overall by the Toronto Raptors Jonas made his regular season NBA debut on November 1, 2012, during a game against the Indiana Pacers. He scored 12 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked 1 shot in 23 minutes of game action.[15] During March 2013, Valančiūnas averaged 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks while playing 27 minutes per game, and was awarded the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award.[16]

Valančiūnas was named the 2013 NBA Summer League Most Valuable Player after averaging 18.8 points (56% FG) and 10 rebounds.[17] On December 27, 2013, Valančiūnas had a career high 18 rebounds in a game against the New York Knicks.[18]

On April 9, 2014, Valančiūnas set a career-high 26 points along with 12 rebounds in a win against the Philadelphia 76ers. [19]

On April 11, 2014, Valančiūnas set a new career-high for rebounds - this time he grabbed 21 rebounds against the New York Knicks.

On April 19, 2014, Valančiūnas scored 17 points along with 18 rebounds in his first playoff game, surpassing Keon Clark's franchise record for most rebounds in a single playoff game.[20]

Career statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  PIR  Performance Index Rating
 Bold  Career high

NBA[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2012–13 Toronto 62 57 23.9 .557 .000 .789 6.0 .7 .3 1.3 8.9
2013–14 Toronto 81 81 28.2 .531 .000 .762 8.8 .7 .3 .9 11.3
Career 143 138 26.3 .540 .000 .773 7.6 .7 .3 1.0 10.3

Playoffs[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2014 Toronto 7 7 28.6 .633 .000 .636 9.7 .3 .0 1.0 10.9
Career 7 7 28.6 .633 .000 .636 9.7 .3 .0 1.0 10.9

Euroleague[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG PIR
2010–11 Lietuvos Rytas 15 8 15.4 .708 .000 .885 5.8 .2 .2 .7 7.7 9.7
Career 15 8 15.4 .708 .000 .885 5.8 .2 .2 .7 7.7 9.7

Film Appearances[edit]

Valančiūnas appeared in the documentary The Other Dream Team.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]