April 23, 2014

Valanciunas Has “Secret” Workout with Cavs, Looks to be the Pick at No. 4

Don’t say we didn’t warn youMultiple times.

As we inch closer to the 2011 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers appear primed to select Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas (pronounced YO-nas Val-an-CHOO-nis) with the fourth-overall selection, pairing him with Duke point guard Kyrie Irving.

As folks like WFNY have been attempting to inform and educate on the 19-year-old center, many have questioned the lack of information being put out by the team – no word of workouts, interviews, etc.  Johnathan Givony of Draft Expresssquelched all of these concerns this morning by reporting the Cavs flew Valanciunas in on Tuesday for a “secret” meeting that consisted of a workout and interview with the player exceeding expectations on both fronts.

Reports of issues with Valanciunas’ buyout were thought to initially suppress his draft stock.  As we have been told over the last few days, the Cavaliers were hoping to be able to trade down (with the Washington Wizards still in the mix) and acquire Valanciunas’ services at a marginally lower price.  Unfortunately, the discount may have been short-lived as the Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs are all looking to select the 7-footer if given the opportunity.  Rumors had circulated that the Spurs were looking to move players like Tony Parker and George Hill to move up to the seventh-overall selection (owned by Sacramento) which would ultimately be used on Valanciunas.

Other names that have been thrown in the mix with the fourth-overall pick are the obvious ones like Turkish center Enes Kanter and not-so-ovious ones like Texas forward Tristan Thompson (who John Hollinger has in lockstep with Derrick Williams). But with a multi-year rebuilding process in place, the inability of Valanciunas to play in the NBA until the 2012-13 season is of little concern to Chris Grant and his front office staff. As stated on this medium and via Twitter, the team actually views this as somewhat of a positive in the event of a lockout in 2011-12 as their developmental big man will have a place to play.

Despite his desire to rock gingham check under stripes, Valanciunas continues to boast what many scouts and executives consider to be a very high ceiling that could result in him being the best player in what is thought to be a draft that is light on difference makers.  He has shown an incredible work ethic, a desire to improve and highly efficient numbers in relatively few minutes during his age-18 season with Lietuvos Rytas.

What is known at this stage is that the 19-year-old legitimate NBA center is surrounded by a lot of intrigue, mystery and the ever-popular draft term of upside. Whether or not this “secret” meeting is indicative of the Cavaliers drafting Valanciunas and making him a part of their future (via draft or trade) remains to be seen. 

  • mgbode

    just rehashing, but if he’s the pick then it’s hard to argue with the idea of grabbing the guy with the highest ceiling and who will help us get a high pick in next year’s draft as well (since he’ll be in Europe).

    unimpressed with the youtube scouting I have done, but would just have to trust the FO that has seen him in Europe much more extensively.

    and, he can bunk up at Z’s house (which he still owns I believe)

  • acrossthefield11

    Z’s still in Avon Lake next door to Travis Hafner. He still walks his dog down lake road all the time.

  • REEPJP

    Hopefully whenever he comes stateside, we’ll be able to convince Big Z to jump on the coaching staff and teach his fellow countryman, Big V, how it’s done.

  • Lyon

    i love his high school photo, nice choice Scott.

    I too am all in favor of picking him, letting him play next year (since the NBA won’t be playing much) getting another lottery pick & then bringing him stateside.

    Win win win as Michael Scott would say.

    Afraid to imagine if we draft Kanter & the season is locked out. Couldn’t fathom paying a guy #4 pick money when he hasn’t played in 2 yrs.

  • Harv 21

    Hope the pic above is from his sophomore year and not his senior year. Otherwise I fear Dwight Howard will be flexing triumphantly over him with a sneaker on his chest for the next decade.

  • acrossthefield11

    How much weight could this kid add? I remember Z getting manhandled by Dwight Howard in the playoffs in 08 as a big reason as to why we got shaq. If we are somehow in contention in the next few years, I don’t see this guy going toe to toe with Howard in a best of seven series.

    For the record though, I like the pick. Just a random concern.

  • Woods

    I will be quite happy if the selections turn out to be Irving and Big V. The best point guard with a pick and roll center that can convert at the rim and foul line. Let him play in Europe next year during the lockout.

    Go Cavs

  • Steve

    Does this mean we’ll have a 2nd player in Northeast Ohio to yell “Chooooooo” after a nice play? I hope so. But I’d say there are more important concerns before we start considering if he’ll be able to jostle with Dwight. I definitely don’t like the mindset of “Well, there’s going to be a lockout anyways…” before the draft. I think the fact there’s an NFL lockout going on at the same time is going to benefit the NBA into getting a deal done. And remember, we have 4 picks tonight and a trade exception to offer so…shocking moves will be made by the Cavs FO tonight. Btw, did u see Dwight’s physical frame when he was drafted? Just sayin. 7 hours to go…

  • JNeids

    Is there going to be a contest for the draft? The winner has to guess the exact picks – names and number of our first 2 picks.

  • Alex Mathews

    I still really want Williams.

  • mgbode

    @JNeids – i would say to make it the first 3 picks (no matter where they happen). first 2 picks will cause too much redundancy in the selections (but the 3rd pick could be anywhere from #7 to #54 depending on what happens in trades)

  • 216in614

    I want to see a pic of what his father or old brother (does he have one?) look like. Are we sure he’s gonna fill out?

  • Chucky Brown

    Cant say Im happy with this pick. I think we would need to be blown away by a player who cant be signed for a year. This guy is extremely limited offensively and we need some scoring. I score this a fail unless we flip the TPE for a solid 3 tonight

  • Du

    Tristan Thompson reminds me of John “Hot Rod” Williams. Watching his highlights, his footwork looks a bit awkward. For those of us who remember Hot Rod, he was also a little awkward in this regard.

    BTW…The fact that Aaron Goldhammer keeps saying on KNR that his worst nightmare is the Cavs taking Jonas Valanciunas at #4, makes me want to take Jonas all the more.

  • saggy

    minnesota did it right: sign a sick player and keep him overseas and let him develop while the team stockpiles lottery picks. cavs are taking note. Rebuilding isn’t done in a year – unless you get Lebron James at #1. That sort of thing may not happen again for another 20 years. If they really like this kid I say go get him. But I’d rather have the #2 pick!

  • Nate_4

    I wasn’t big on Jonas early, but everything I’ve been reading has been positive on him. I want to draft a guy that will help us win now, but I guess I need to be more realistic. We get Irving, Jonas, and a lottery pick next year then we start to win. I hope.

  • Gren

    I always hear how Dan Gilbert wants to win at any cost, maybe he will be able to offer up some cash to get him bought out for this upcoming season.

  • Harv 21

    @ 15 and 16: agree, albeit with a worried heart. If Kanter looks real strong as a rookie, I know us, there will be teeth a’gnashing round these parts about what could have been.

    Or is this pick just a smokescreen for a trade to be announced in a few hours? (In Grant we trust?)

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    NB4R no more gingham.

  • Vengeful Pat

    To quote the horse from Ren & Stimpy… “No sir, I don’t like it.”

  • kdev

    The key with this pick is to trust our scouts. If they project this kid as a Pau Gasol-type player in 2-3 years, why not? Its not as if we will be passing on a franchise-caliber player to get him like Detroit did with Darko. This is a draft that is lacking when it comes to NBA-ready impact players, so gambling on a prospect isn’t a bad idea.

    If Irving settles in as a Top-5 PG in the east and Jonas becomes a Top-5 center in the entire league, that’s a great draft. Big if’s, I know, but that is the best case scenario.

    One problem: his initials are JV. That scares me a bit.

  • Harv 21

    Might just be a silly-season rumor, but here we go, Cavs would grab Kanter, hold a bidding war and then grab Yoooooo-naaaahs for Thhhhhreee, plus another first rounder.

  • Chucky Brown

    Pau Gasol?, I dont see him going from offensively hindered to masterfully skillful in any lifetime

    this pick makes me mad, but im gonna try and trust grant on this one

    however and pick that mimics a David Kahn move (@15) is questionable at best

  • Cooley Ford

    From my reading on Jonas V, his ceiling is Tyson Chandler with a jump shot. That is not a bad thing. I’m very optimistic about his future on offense. His foul shooting (~90%) suggests a good stroke. Hopefully he’ll drain midrange shots like a certain other Lithuanian who used to play for us center for years to come.

  • Swig

    @saggy, IRRC it still took time to rebuild, even with that pick

  • Shamrock

    No pressure comparing to Gasol, lol. These comparisons are amusing. If this kid is the fourth pick I hope the Cavaliers are adding another draft pick. They need physical, rebounding, inside guys (IMO) not big men with jump shots.

  • Chucky Brown

    im convinced that they will take Tristan T with the pick as a tool to trade down for Jonas and pick up a later 1st

  • mgbode

    @Shamrock – again, high lottery picks should have high expectations and pressure. this isn’t little league.

    i find it amusing that you think they shouldn’t be compared to players who might be at their ceiling. these kids should be shooting for the stars (they might not make it there but they definitely won’t if they don’t shoot there)

  • Hashish

    I this pre-draft hoopla is just smoke and mirrors to drum up interest for a trade. I think we are just trying to find another team to trade the 4th pick because Kanter is not going to be available.

    Honestly I think the players are all good player and have potential, it usually comes down to the organization to foster the talent.

  • jimkanicki

    i started to pose an yet another opinion here. something about .. kanter vs valenchulas vs blahblah BUYOUT blahblah PROTOTYPEWIDEBODY blahblah LANECLOGGER blahblahblah DWIGHTHOWARD

    .. and i was actually boring MYSELF.
    saturation point reached. draft someone already. !!

  • Shamrock

    mgbode: I’m just saying Pau took a few years to develop and was overlooked in Memphis. It wasn’t until he got to LA that his skills were appreciated. Even still I think he was far more advanced then the kid from Lithuania. I’m guessing, I do not know for a fact. I don’t remember how/what was said of Nowitzki either. Perhaps the kid from Lithuania is in his mold. Regardless I’d rather use a top #5 pick on a kid who can learn and contribute immediately. It’s possible to rebuild without the rebuilding taking as long as it does in Cleveland.

  • mgbode

    @Shamrock – we differ on how to rebuild and that’s fine. i’m okay with sacrificing next season if it helps us 3yrs from now. i think that’s how a team like the cavs has to rebuild.

    also, you said “It wasn’t until he got to LA that his skills were appreciated”

    I completely disagree. Pau was widely considered a top10 player in Memphis which is why the trade to the Lakers was so universally panned as a larceny. Once he got to the Lakers and he was more under the championship microscope, I think many actually appreciated his skills less (remember, it was him being ‘soft’ that was ruled as the reason they lost to the Celtics in ’08)