Lithuanian HOFer slams Raptors' Lowry for not passing to Valanciunas

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports / Action Images

Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas was supposed to be the greatest Lithuanian player since Arvydas Sabonis. It hasn't quite worked out that way.

Valanciunas is a decent starting center with clear flaws, but is often looked upon as having star potential on account of his motor, size, and soft touch around the basket. That discrepancy between expectation and results leads to the question: Why isn't he better?

Hall of Fame point guard and Lithuanian legend Sarunas Marciulionis argues Kyle Lowry is to blame.

"They ask from him too much. JV has great hands, desire, and he runs the floor. What more do they want from this white guy? I don't understand their requirements," Marciulionis said, according to Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas.

"If you want more, give him more playing time, give him the ball and he'll do everything. Also, they don't understand what it means to pass the ball in Toronto. Their point guard ... he probably doesn't even know how to spell p-a-s-s."

Under head coach Dwane Casey, Toronto has consistently ranked in the bottom 10 in passes and assists per game. The Raptors prefer to limit turnovers, call for high screens, and have their two star guards in Lowry and DeMar DeRozan slashing to the cup. As such, there are limited opportunities for anyone who can't handle the ball - especially for the team's bigs.

However, Valanciunas isn't necessarily absolved of any blame. The lead-footed big man has proven to be a defensive liability, and rarely closes game as a result. He's also a limited offensive player who lacks the shooting range, proper handle, passing ability, and awareness to handle double teams, or function as an effective offensive fulcrum.

Lithuanian HOFer slams Raptors' Lowry for not passing to Valanciunas
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