Title: Amoose-Boucher: Raptors have tasty options to survive Jonas Valanciunas’ absence
Date: December 14, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Jonas Valanciunas’ dislocated thumb and the options the Raptors have to replace his minutes.
The Raptors learned Thursday that they will be without Jonas Valanciunas for at least four weeks.
Valanciunas dislocated his left thumb, or rather had it dislocated for him by Draymond Green, in the first half of Wednesday’s raucous win over the Golden State Warriors, and initial fears were more or less met with the updated timeline. Thumb dislocations are hard to peg down given the lack of detail in that description, with timelines varying based on the amount of ligament damage done. That Valanciunas required surgery and will need to be in a cast for four weeks before being re-evaluated points to him being out of the lineup well into January and missing 15 games on the optimistic end.
This is, quite obviously, a tough break. Despite a role coming off the bench more often and playing fewer minutes, Valanciunas was having arguably the best season of his career. He was averaging career-bests in points, rebounds, assists, steals and win shares per-36 minutes, posting a career-high true shooting percentage on career-high usage with a career-low turnover rate, owned the second-best defensive rating of any rotation regular and had the best defensive field-goal percentage at the rim among players with 100 or more shots defended there (that metric can be noisy but still has descriptive value).