NBA: Ranking all 30 starting centers for 2018-19

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images /
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15. Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors

Did anyone see Jonas Valanciunas‘ tenure with the Toronto Raptors lasting longer than DeMar DeRozan’s? While the Kawhi Leonard trade is still a surprise, it’s one that makes the Raptors better for the upcoming season, especially with JV’s improved ability to stay on the floor when teams go small.

Valanciunas can still be a liability on the defensive end at times, and he’s basically plateaued in terms of his production. Last year, his 12.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game on 56.8 percent shooting were nearly identical to the numbers he posted in the three seasons that came before.

However, he also took a career-high 74 3-pointers last year, making 30 of them (40.5 percent). He’s still a walking bucket down low and a stout presence in the lane. Serge Ibaka is still this team’s best option at the 5 when playoff lineups go small, but Toronto needs Valanciunas for the regular season grind and his 20-25 minutes a night in the postseason.