It’s weird. Whenever Jonas Valanciunas has a good game, I write a bunch of stuff pandering to his fans (who are mostly Lithuanians). Things like “Dwane Casey hates Jonas Valanciunas” and “Jonas Valanciunas would average 20/10 if he was used effectively”. But when I make a Lucas Nogueira highlight video, the opportunity arises to hype up the Brazilian JaVale while denigrating every other center on the roster.
How many of these lobs that Nogueira so effortlessly retrieved would JV have been able to convert on? None of them. Valanciunas can sort of jump, but he’s not going to go way upstairs to catch alley-oops like Nogueira, and an analysis of the best offenses in the league reveals that the ability to catch lobs is all you need out of the center position. Valanciunas would have monopolized possessions with his back-to-the-basket game and ruined offensive continuity.
Here’s the other thing: Valanciunas has played 46 minutes this year and has yet to record a blocked shot, another manifestation of his lack of explosive jumping ability. At this point, the only thing he has going for him is his neatly styled hair, which is certainly more attractive to females than Nogueira’s circus freak rat’s nest that he has going on top of his head.