In a way, Jonas Valanciunas performance tonight was by far the most impressive one on the team, even more than the raw point totals indicate. All his other teammates were matched up against role-players who aren’t very successful as NBA roster material. But Valanciunas was matched up against Robin Lopez, who is definitely NBA-caliber, and he still managed to put up a team-leading 23 points.
The commentators kept bringing up his propensity to do well on opening night compared to how he does the rest of the season. I looked at the stats and it’s true: Valanciunas even going back to his rookie year tends to take more shots and make more shots than his average. Why is this? Stupid question. The answer is obvious: because it takes a whole game for Dwane Casey to remember how much he hates Valanciunas and how Valanciunas should never ever get touches in the offense and DeMar DeRozan should just iso all the time.
Can’t they just trade him already? Valanciunas for Thon Maker. Who says no?