NBA Draft 2011: Jonas Valanciunas to Join Toronto Raptors in 2012

It is official.

Following Thursday's 2011 NBA Draft, Jonas Valanciunas will now join the Toronto Raptors for the 2012-2013 season.

The fifth overall pick is very excited and ready to suit up in a Raptors uniform. You could see the smile on his face in today's interview and his excitement when he got that Raptors jersey with his last name and the No. 17 on the back.

Bryan Colangelo has been criticized for selecting Jonas, but if people look at it with a positive attitude, many analysts say Valanciunas is probably the best pure talent in the draft and could be a top-five center in the next 3-5 years.

Valanciunas has stated he is going to hit the gym and bulk himself up, as well as work on his jump shot and post moves. If he can successfully accomplish those goals he has set for himself, he will be a top-five center, without a doubt. He is already a great rebounder and seems to know when to jump to get a block on the opposing player.

But with no Valanciunas for next season, what does this mean for the Raptors?

Well, we need to look at this from two different perspectives: If there is an NBA lockout, and if there isn't.


If There Is a Lockout

 If a lockout happens, Jonas will be ready to suit up for the Raptors when the next official season happens. The team will without a doubt win more than 30 games with Jonas and Dwayne Casey on the roster. This will also improve Toronto's defense, and when both Jonas and Ed Davis are on the floor, it will be near impossible to make a shot in the paint.

If There Isn't a Lockout

 This is the best-case scenario for the team because the Raptors would basically play the same way they did like last season, but with a huge improvement on defense.

They could end up with another lottery pick—hopefully a top-five selection. With this pick they could draft a consistent small forward in either Harrison Barnes or James McAdoo.

Jonas has huge upside to his game and can be better than expected. Only time will tell though.


For more 2011 NBA draft coverage, stay tuned to Bleacher Report for NBA draft results and NBA draft grades.

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