Thursday, October 11, 2012

The debut is over, thirteen minutes of Jonas Valanciunas

It's over.....the most anticipated rookie debut in Raptors history...  Well, it's definitely up there.

The Stat Line: 2 points (1-1), 2 blocks, 1 turnover and 13 minutes of raw Jonas Valanciunas.

It was like '03 Lebron James rookie debut anticipation but on a much, much smaller scale.  But I have to admit, although a lot of hardcore Raps fans were waiting for the young Lithuaninan to step on an NBA court for the first time, the casual NBA fan couldn't care less.

When Jonas was here in Halifax, this was a kid who just wanted to get on the court for training camp but couldn't due to his calf injury and he genuinely looked sad being on the sidelines.

Last night was his night.

He got a chance to practice in Toronto this week and then rumblings came out in the Twitterverse that he would make his debut on Wednesday night against Detroit. \The Raptor fan base was ready.

Excitement must have stuck with Jonas leading up to this game, it was his opportunity to finally get out there.  Sure, Valanciunas has been a pro ball player since the age of 14, but this was the NBA stage.  A stage at the Palace of Auburn Hills in front of a reported 9500 fans (it actually looked to be about 5000 fans).  But it was a perfect stage for the young rookie to get his feet wet and get used to the speed of the NBA game before his Toronto debut on Friday.

Coach Casey said he would get ten minutes for the rookie, but Jonas got a few more and played for thirteen.  He went up against a couple of young, talented NBA bigs: Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe last night against Detroit.....and Jonas held his own.  Two blocks, some hustle and his first basket.
It wasn't a groundbreaking debut, it was a bit sloppy and there was a turnover but he's still a rookie.  These are the growing pains you'll see with Jonas... he'll need time.  The problem is that most of the fan base has high expectations for Valanciunas "now" and not what he'll be three years down the road.  It's going to be a bit of a bumpy road, Toronto. 
The Jonas Valanciunas era has began.
And oh yeah.....the Raptors lost 101-99.
(Photo via Sportsnet.ca)

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Hip Hoop Junkies, a Toronto Raptors / NBA / Canada Basketball blog based out of Halifax. Home of the #RAPSTALK Podcast - "Hoops Talk out of Halifax"

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