The big guys are important as much as the rest of the team in basketball. At times the “bigs” don’t get enough praise for what they do for teams, but when they are no longer playing a notable difference can be spotted. Whether if it’s from protecting the paint, to dominating the boards, to setting solid screens, or giving the team some easy points; the bigs are important.
Toronto Raptors’ 7-foot center, Jonas Valanciunas has been out for the last six games of the playoffs due to a sprained right ankle that occurred during Game 3 of the Heat series. As of now, it is uncertain if Valanciunas will be able to return for the team’s upcoming games due to the injury. However, the Raptors are in dire need of his presence on the court, especially being down 0-2 in the series against Cleveland.
Toronto has struggled to keep pace with LeBron James and his Cavaliers, especially defensively. Meaning, Valanciunas would be a savior of sorts for Toronto if he’s able to come back during the series. Not only would he give more offensive options to the team, but most importantly provide solid defensive help. Valanciunas, this post-season, was averaging 15 points and 12 rebounds up to his injury. Now, even to a casual fan, shows that he has a productive stat line and certainly provides a much-needed contribution to the Raptors on both ends of the court. Will he be able to return, that remains the question? Should he play even though he is not at full 100% health?
The Raptors should definitely give it some thought because if Valanciunas can run up and down the court in his current state and simply provide a presence, the hopes of the team continuing its playoff run would certainly be better. As of now, another potential sweep for the dominant Cleveland Cavaliers is certainly playing out in their favor. If the Raptors do not get the win in game 3, then they will be saying goodbye to their season as history is not on their side after going down 0-3. No team has ever come back from a 0-3 deficit and neither will they with the bad performances they have shown through the first two games of the series. Therefore, Valanciunas needs to be back in game 3 if he is ever to come back during this series. Otherwise, it will be better for him not to risk further injuring the right ankle.