Hometown: Utena, Lithuania
Position: Power Forward
Team: Lietuvos Rytas
Right-handed… Long, lean big man, who despite being so young (born in 1992) has an excellent feel for the game… He runs the court well and has shown good mobility despite not being the high-class athlete that some of the other lottery prospects are. But what he does have are great building blocks for an NBA future. He has great court awareness and solid hands, catching anything his crafty Lithuanian point guards throw his way, but also a very soft touch inside. With some added strength and toughness, Valanciunas should be able to finish in the NBA as well. Right now, he has a tendency to know where the basket is and throw up his shots, but they do go in. In fact, almost all of his shots around the rim seem to find their way to the bottom of the net… He should settle himself a bit more, get his feet under him and then go up stronger… He has a developing mid-range game from about 12 or 15 feet and in right now and still improving. He can also use a shot-fake and put the ball on the floor with one or two dribbles and get to the rim or draw contact. He can get pretty crafty around the rim with some smooth footwork and a nice up-and-under move to keep his defenders off balance… Defensively, while his foot speed isn't all there yet, he has very good defensive awareness in the paint and can defend the pick-and-roll and help on the weak side. His length allows him to alter and deflect opponents' shots. He is a strong defensive rebounder- he positions himself well, and boxes out. Even though he may not drive his defender out of the lane, he leaves himself enough space to operate on the glass…
He shows promise for such a young international prospect. He just needs to continue to add strength to his frame and work on his lateral quickness. Defensively, he won't be able to matchup with the 5s of the next level and won't be quick enough for the power forwards… Offensively, he will need to explode up to the rim more. With the more physical defenders of the NBA, Valanciunas will need to work on his lower body strength to break through defenders' reach and get to the rim… On pick-and-roll situations, he rolls the wrong way, turning his back to his guard. He needs to open the other way, facing his guard and being prepared to catch the ball anytime.