Jonas Valančiūnas has been impressive in the start of Euroleague. The 18-year-old reached double-digits in both games – on the road in Istanbul against Fenerbahçe Ülker and versus Montepaschi at home in Vilnius. If you were to look only at the statistic averages – they look nothing short of impressive – 10.5 points on 80 percent shooting and 8 rebounds. All of this in very limited playing time of just over 17 minutes a night.
However, there’s a reason (or rather two different ones – one for each game) why Valančiūnas isn’t spending more time on the court. The young center started his first Euroleague game against Fenerbahçe off the bench, but racked up a lot of fouls against the physically tougher opponents such as Gašper Vidmar and Oğuz Savaş, fouling out in 16:47 minutes.
The second game in Vilnius was a different case – fouls weren’t the biggest problem. In fact, Valančiūnas came in with the starting unit. And what a start it was… Well, at least offensively. Defense against Milovan Raković was another case. As much as Valančiūnas did offensively, was balanced out by him not being able to defend the big Serb. All of this can be clearly seen in a video made by in-the-game.org – a one of a kind website in European hoops. One of my favorite, I have to say.
As a side-note here, you can also check out the advanced statistics from both games, where Valančiūnas can be seen as one of the best performers in this Lietuvos Rytas team, which is currently 0-2 in Euroleague.
Also, I want you to check out a nice piece about Valančiūnas’ start in Euroleague by EuropeanProspects.com. Have a nice read. All for now.