Jonas Valanciunas opened up with a 32-point blitz in the Raptors’ game one victory over Detroit. Toronto will need big time performances from Valanciunas going forward, with their frontcourt weakened after losing Bismack Biyombo in the offseason and then Jared Sullinger to foot surgery. Valanciunas will get the ultimate test Friday night against the Cavaliers, who lack a traditional dominant inside presence. That’s fortunate for the rest of the NBA because the defending champion Cavs don’t lack much else.
Valanciunas also had 11 rebounds against the Pistons, while shooting 67% from the floor. Of course Valanciunas picks spots all over said floor for his offense, typical of the new-style NBA big man. But he’s a legit 7-footer who took 15 shot attempts in game one, almost seven more than his career average — and not one 3-pointer. Valanciunas played 36 minutes. The Raptors guards are among the best in the league. If Valanciunas raises his game, Toronto could emerge from the Eastern Conference come late May.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 27, 2016