Big V gets some time to rest, and other important items
If this is Friday, it must be a day of tiny ramblings from the week and if it’s this Friday, it must be Winnipeg and the Central time zone after two nights in Pacific, one in Eastern and I’m stunned I even know what day and city it is.
That’s a way of explaining why this is so late.
Word out of Vegas last night was that they are going to shut down Jonas Valanciunas for whatever’s left of the Summer League.
And, yes, he’s had a very good run out there – he was solid in the one scrimmage and one game I saw and I’m told he was dominant at other times – but …
Please. Please. Please. Please. I beseech you not to read too much into it.
Yes, he scored almost at will at times and was, at times, a man going against boys but I don’t know that he faced one legitimate NBA opponent and while it’s far preferable that he be dominant rather than invisible, the true proof of whether his development will come later this summer at Eurobasket and in the fall when the season begins.
I’ve said forever that I thought the kid has a chance to be special and nothing’s happened to make me change my mind.
The most important thing of this summer is that he did precisely what the coaches and team needed him to do: He’s bigger and stronger and that comes from working out constantly; he showed far better footwork at both ends of the court and that comes from a lot of drill work in the gym.
The decision to shut him down – and it might only be for the last game of the “tournament” that winds up the Summer League – makes sense because he needs a few days off, at least, before joining the Lithuanian national team for its training camp.
I would presume he’ll play an awful lot at Eurobasket – far more than he did at the London Olympics – and there’s no sense wearing him out before he gets there.
Dwane told me that he liked how Jonas had picked up the team’s zone defence principles better and how he’d become a better offensive quarterback out of the post, where I’m sure he’s going to see an awful lot of double teams in the coming season.
And that’s the most important thing by far. I know a lot of you saw games and he looked good in them but that doesn’t matter at all and should be taken with the biggest grain of salt imaginable.
If Valanciunas did what the team wanted on his own before he got to Vegas and if he showed more in practice, that’s what matters.
So I’m in the cab back from being Argo Boy (nice stadium, Winnipeg, how about a bigger road in and why did you put it way the hell out there?) and the streets are kind of busy around the arena and the cabbie tells me KISS is in town for a sold out concert.
I check the phone, it’s 2013 and not 1980 and I’m thinking, okay, KISS must still have some fans.
Hope they did this little ditty.
This was nice.
The young scraggly teen who stopped to say hello while I was getting fresh air and to ask if I could possibly spare a stick of fresh air was so thankful when I did that he offered me a sip of the gigantic Big Gulp Root Beer he was drinking.
Nice people, these Winnipeggers.
Got a lot of typing do on other stuff but what the heck.
Always room at firstname.lastname@example.org; stop by and say hello.
When I was chatting with DeMar about his summer and what he’s got to do the one thing I took away was that he seemed far more confident, assertive, about his place with the organization.
Maybe it’s parenthood, maybe it’s just growing up, maybe it’s just being tired of all the stuff of the last few years but he seems just a bit more willing to be the guy who takes the team by the scruff of its neck when he needs to.
And I wonder how much more of that he’ll get when he’s with the USAB Select Team again next week in Vegas. He got a lot out of that in the past, watching the best players in the game go about their business and I’m sure he’ll get more this time around.
So does he.
“I’m really looking forward to it, just going out there with all the other top young guys in the league and just competing every day.
“It’ll give me another challenge or the summer before going to training camp.”
Yes, I did find a very comfortable stool right close to the hotel after I’d finished an awful lot of work and imagine my surprise to find a delightful local brew that the serve in little tiny Mason jars!
How cool is that?
Oh yeah, one last little Raptors note.
I’m told that the cash savings on the Camby buyout was about $2 million. Not bad given that he had only about $5 million guaranteed total on the two years left on his deal and for all those who are suggesting that he pay for the right to go play for another team, please realize that he did.
He paid about $2 million, the team gets a bit more money in the coffers for what it’s worth and when they come to figure out how to spend it – and, no, it doesn’t mean they have that much cap room after the buyout – I can think of one thing:
Weekly Dinners For Grunts on the road!
Works for me.