Four days ago, Jonas Valanciunas recorded the stunning statline of 0/10/1 in 25 minutes, going 0-of-2 from both the field and the line. That was also the ‘Zlies only win in The Bubb up until that point, a fact which I am writing off as purely coincidental. My question is, how does a guy who is a walking 20/10 machine (or a walking 20/10/10 machine, judging by this game) manage to put up such an underwhelming statline?
I’ve got two people to blame here for attempting to derail The Big Lithuanian’s career.
First blame target: Dillon Brooks. Brooks’ insatiable need to chuck shots necessarily limits shot attempts for more skilled players on the roster like Jonas Valanciunas and Yuta Watanabe. Valanciunas could be posted up against Muggsy Bogues five feet away from the basket and Brooks would shot a pull-up jumper from eighteen feet over two defenders instead.
Second blame target: Taylor Jenkins. As coach of the ‘Zlies, he needs to ensure that his players are put in positions to succeed. Especially the good players. Valanciunas should be a priority for him. Using him correctly is very important. Using Dillon Brooks correctly is not important, and it’s also futile because you could tell Brooks to do one thing and he would do another (“another” being “shoot dumb shots”).
Bonus third blame target: The people of Lithuania. If they all gathered en masse outside the bubble, then took Taylor Jenkins and other high-ranking Grizzlies official hostage, they could easily guarantee minutes and touches for their countryman. But Lithuanians, for some reason, are not doing this.
P.S. Dillon Brooks is single-handedly responsible for Valanciunas’ triple-double in this one, being willing to score off handoffs at any time and at any distance. So I begrudgingly admit that Brooks was not as much of a detriment to his team as he usually is.