Linas Kleiza

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Linas Kleiza
Linas kleiza okc vs fb.jpg
No. 11 – EA7 Emporio Armani Milano
Position Power forward / Small forward
League Italian League
Euroleague
Personal information
Born (1985-01-03) January 3, 1985 (age 29)
Kaunas, Lithuania
Nationality Lithuanian
Listed height 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
Listed weight 235 lb (107 kg)
Career information
High school Montrose Christian School
(Rockville, Maryland)
College Missouri (2003–2005)
NBA draft 2005 / Round: 1 / Pick: 27th overall
Selected by the Portland Trail Blazers
Pro career 2005–present
Career history
20052009 Denver Nuggets
2009–2010 Olympiacos
20102013 Toronto Raptors
2013–2014 Fenerbahçe Ülker
2014–present Emporio Armani Milano
Career highlights and awards
Stats at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Linas Kleiza (Lithuanian pronunciation: ​[ˈlʲɪn̪ɐs̪ kʲlʲɛɪ̯ˈz̪ɐ]; born January 3, 1985) is a Lithuanian professional basketball player who plays for Emporio Armani Milano of the Italian League. Standing at 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m), he can play either forward position. He also represents the Lithuanian national basketball team in the international competitions.

Early years[edit]

Kleiza was born in Kaunas, Lithuania. At 16 years old he moved to U.S.A. where he attended the Montrose Christian School and graduated in 2003. He played on the Lithuanian Junior National Team that won the silver medal at the 2003 FIBA Under-19 World Championship. He led the tournament in scoring, averaging 29.1 points per game on 58 percent shooting.[1]

College career[edit]

Kleiza played college basketball with the University of Missouri Tigers. He was named Honorable Mention All-Big 12 by the league coaches as a sophomore. He also earned All-Tournament honors at the 2005 Big 12 Tournament after averaging 29.5 points and 9 rebounds per game.

Professional career[edit]

Denver Nuggets[edit]

Kleiza was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 27th pick of the 2005 NBA Draft. The Trail Blazers then dealt his draft rights, along with Ricky Sanchez to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Jarrett Jack. Kleiza was seldom-used in his rookie season. He averaged 3.5 points and 8.5 minutes per game.

He improved on his three-point shooting in his sophomore year, making 83–221, after only making two three-pointers in his rookie year. He also saw some more time on the court and averaged 7.6 points on 42 percent shooting in 18.8 minutes per game. After the season, Denver picked up their team option on his contract for another season.

Kleiza became a big part of Denver's rotation in the 2007–08 season, mostly backing up Denver's starting small forward Carmelo Anthony. However, he was involved in a lot of trade talks, most notably a trade involving Ron Artest of the Sacramento Kings.[2] On January 17, 2008, Kleiza scored a career high 41 points against the Utah Jazz.[3] His scoring average was up to 11.1 points per game and his shooting percentage was up to 47 percent.

Many expected Kleiza to make a similar leap in production in his fourth year in the league. However, most of his season averages were slightly off from the 2007–08 season. He averaged 9.9 points on 45 percent shooting. His minutes dwindled down in the playoffs. The Nuggets' head coach George Karl, said Kleiza played fewer minutes because he is not a playmaker.[4]

Olympiacos[edit]

On August 10, 2009, Kleiza agreed to a two-year, $12.2 million (8.6 million euros) gross income contract with the Greek League team Olympiacos.[5][6] He averaged 17.2 points per game and grabbed 6.4 rebounds per game in the Euroleague, reaching the Euroleague Final with the Reds. Kleiza led the league in scoring, thus winning the Alphonso Ford Trophy, becoming the first Lithuanian to do so.

Toronto Raptors[edit]

On July 7, 2010, Kleiza terminated his contract with Olympiacos. He was signed by the Toronto Raptors to a four-year, $20 million gross income offer sheet.[7][8][9] In January 2011, he suffered a serious meniscal tear in his right knee and was out for the remainder of the 2010–11 season. On February 1, 2011, Kleiza underwent arthroscopic surgery. He returned to court on January 11, 2012 in a game against the Sacramento Kings. In 14 minutes of game action, he scored 10 points, grabbed 3 rebounds and dished out an assist. On July 16, 2013, the Raptors used the amnesty clause to waive Kleiza.[10]

Fenerbahçe Ülker[edit]

On July 26, 2013, Kleiza signed a two-year contract with Fenerbahçe Ülker.[11] According to various sources Kleiza's contract salary was 3.3 million euros. He was the most expensive player in Turkish Basketball League history.[12] On July 1, 2014, he officially parted ways with Fenerbahçe.[13]

Emporio Armani Milano[edit]

On July 21, 2014, Kleiza signed a one-year deal with the Italian team Emporio Armani Milano.[14]

Lithuanian national team[edit]

Linas Kleiza (right) with Lithuania national team

Kleiza has also played with the senior men's Lithuanian national basketball team. He played at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and he won the bronze medal at the FIBA EuroBasket 2007 and the silver medal at the FIBA EuroBasket 2013. He also played with Lithuania at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. After a poor performance in FIBA EuroBasket 2009, Kleiza led his team to a bronze medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, averaging 19.0 points per game, 7.1 rrebounds per game, and 1.4 assists per game. He was chosen for the All-Tournament Team. Because of his knee injury, he wasn't able to help Lithuania at FIBA EuroBasket 2011.

Awards and accomplishments[edit]

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

Note: Euroleague is not the only competition in which player participated for the team during the season.


Led the league

NBA[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Linas Kleiza in 2007 as a Nuggets member
Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2005–06 Denver 61 2 8.5 .445 .154 .704 1.9 .2 .2 .2 3.5
2006–07 Denver 79 14 18.8 .422 .376 .852 3.4 .6 .4 .2 7.6
2007–08 Denver 79 13 23.9 .472 .339 .770 4.2 1.2 .6 .2 11.1
2008–09 Denver 82 7 22.2 .447 .326 .725 4.0 .8 .4 .2 9.9
2010–11 Toronto 39 23 26.5 .438 .298 .631 4.5 1.0 .5 .2 11.2
2011–12 Toronto 49 3 21.6 .402 .346 .810 4.1 .9 .5 .1 9.7
2012–13 Toronto 20 3 18.8 .333 .303 .842 2.6 .8 .2 .1 7.4
Career 409 65 20.0 .435 .335 .763 3.6 .8 .4 .2 8.7

Playoffs[edit]

Linas Kleiza with the Fenerbahçe Ülker
Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2006 Denver 3 0 4.7 .375 .000 .000 1.3 .7 .0 .0 2.0
2007 Denver 5 0 13.2 .231 .167 .500 1.6 .4 .0 .0 1.6
2008 Denver 4 3 30.5 .537 .214 .692 6.5 .8 .3 .0 14.0
2009 Denver 14 0 15.0 .470 .425 .750 3.2 .5 .4 .1 6.9
Career 26 3 15.8 .461 .344 .718 3.2 .5 .2 .0 6.4

Euroleague[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG PIR
2009–10 Olympiacos 22 21 30.4 .480 .349 .798 6.5 1.3 .7 .2 17.1 17.9
2013–14 Fenerbahçe 24 7 21.3 .454 .305 .918 3.5 .8 .4 .1 10.1 9.8
Career 46 28 25.6 .470 .331 .847 5.0 1.0 .5 .1 13.5 13.6

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]