Title: Don’t expect plenty more Euro-Steps, but Raptors confident in expanding offensive role of their centres
Date: October 9, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, I wrote about the Raptors hoping to hand even more play-making responsibilities to their bigs this year.
It will likely go down as the highlight of the Toronto Raptors’ preseason, their 7-foot centre lumbering in the open court and unleashing one of the larger Euro-Steps imaginable. It was a heck of a way to introduce the new season, even in an exhibition game, and it came in concert with a more established pump-fake and drive for a nifty finger-roll, although that time with his left.
In a matter of minutes, it seemed Jonas Valanciunas was ready to show the NBA that this next year, the seventh of his career, would not be one in which he plateaus. Last season saw him introduce a three-point shot to great joy from his teammates, and one year into a tweak to the team’s offensive system that has empowered him to try his hand at less traditional usage, here was previously foreign ball skill in space.
“JV’s loving that drive from the top of the key right now, isn’t he?” Nick Nurse says, lighting up a bit. “He’s a skilled guy, he’s got the green light to shoot it, I wish he’d shoot a bit more but he’s good in driving down in there and so far he’s made good decisions.”