Jonas Valanciunas

Jonas Valanciunas

31-Year-Old CenterC
New Orleans Pelicans
2023 Fantasy Outlook
Valanciunas played his second season for the Pelicans and saw action in 79 games, all of which were starts. His scoring was down last season (14.1 points) after he averaged 17.8 points during his 2021-22 campaign, though Zion Williamson missed all of that season, and Brandon Ingram appeared in only 55 games. While he averaged at least 10 rebounds for the fifth straight season, he failed to block at least one shot per game for the third straight year. The numbers are modest, but he's a solid free throw shooter for a big man and should be worth a 10th-round pick in most fantasy leagues. If Zion Williamson somehow makes it through an entire season without major injury issues, JV could take another hit. But he shouldn't have much of a problem getting minutes over guys like Larry Nance and Cody Zeller. All things considered, Valanciunas should be a solid fantasy option in the later rounds of your draft when you're looking for a second or third center. Read Past Outlooks
RANKS
Current Season
From Preseason
#91
ADP
$Signed a two-year, $30.14 million contract extension with the Pelicans in October of 2021.
Personal Bio/PreCareer Summary

Valanciunas was born in 1992 in Utena, Lithuania. In June 2008, he participated in the NBA and FIBA Basketball Without Borders Europe camp in Istanbul, Turkey. As a member of the Raptors, Valanciunas sponsored a ticket program for youth in the Lithuanian/Canadian community. He also surprised youth basketball players at clinics around Toronto. Since the age of 19, he's been a member of the Lithuania men's national basketball team. Valanciunas won two EuroBasket silver medals in 2013 and 2015, earning All-Tournament honors in 2015. Fans can learn more about JV on Twitter (@JValanciunas) and Instagram (@jvalanciunas). Valanciunas helped lead Lietuvos Rytas to the Lithuanian Basketball Federation (LKF) Finals for three straight seasons from 2009-12. The first year of that stretch brought the best results, as he helped Lietuvos Rytas win the LKF title in 2009-10. Valanciunas was named to the All-Eurocup first team in 2011-12 and was awarded the Eurocup Rising Star Trophy, as well. Valanciunas averaged 14.2 points and 7.4 rebounds for Lietuvos Rytas in the 2011-12 season. In the 2011-12 VTB United League, Valanciunas led the league in blocks per game (1.7) as part of Lietuvos Rytas. He also finished fifth in the VTB in rebounds per game (7.3). Valanciunas entered the 2011 NBA Draft and was selected with the No. 5 overall pick by the Raptors. He opted to again play for Lietuvos Rytas in Lithuania before joining the Raptors, starting with the 2012 NBA Summer League.

Pulls down 17 rebounds Sunday
CNew Orleans Pelicans
February 26, 2024
Valanciunas contributed 14 points (7-15 FG, 0-3 3Pt), 17 rebounds and one block over 28 minutes during Sunday's 114-106 loss to the Bulls.
ANALYSIS
Valanciunas is one of the most consistent centers in The Association and can record a double-double every time he steps on the court, as has been the case in each of his last three appearances. Even though the veteran can also produce on offense, he has a secondary role in the Pelicans' scheme, and that limits his fantasy upside a bit. Still, he's having another solid year and is just 0.4 rebounds per game shy of averaging a double-double for the fifth campaign in a row.
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Stat Review
How does Jonas Valanciunas compare to other players?
This section compares his stats with all players from the previous three seasons (minimum 200 minutes played)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
  • True Shooting %
    An advanced statistic that measures a player's efficiency at shooting the ball that takes field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and three point percentage into account.
  • Effective Field Goal %
    A statistic that adjusts field goal percentage to account for the fact that three-point field goals count for three points while field goals only count for two points.
  • 3-Point Attempt Rate
    Percentage of field goal attempts from three point range.
  • Free Throw Rate
    Number of free throw attempts per field goal attempt.
  • Offensive Rebound %
    An estimate of the percentage of available offensive rebounds a player grabbed while they were on the floor.
  • Defensive Rebound %
    An estimate of the percentage of available defensive rebounds a player grabbed while they were on the floor.
  • Total Rebound %
    An estimate of the percentage of available rebounds a player grabbed while they were on the floor.
  • Assist %
    An estimate of the percentage of teammate field goals a player assisted while they were on the floor.
  • Steal %
    An estimate of the percentage of opponent possessions that end with a steal by the player while they were on the floor.
  • Block %
    An estimate of the percentage of opponent two-point field goal attempts blocked by the player while they were on the floor.
  • Turnover %
    An estimate of turnovers committed per 100 plays.
  • Usage %
    An estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while they were on the floor.
  • Fantasy Points Per Game
    NBA Fantasy Points Per Game.
  • Fantasy Points Per Minute
    NBA Fantasy Points Per Minute.
True Shooting %
63.4%
 
Effective Field Goal %
60.0%
 
3-Point Attempt Rate
16.6%
 
Free Throw Rate
28.9%
 
Offensive Rebound %
11.6%
 
Defensive Rebound %
30.0%
 
Total Rebound %
20.8%
 
Assist %
13.1%
 
Steal %
0.7%
 
Block %
3.9%
 
Turnover %
9.4%
 
Usage %
20.6%
 
Fantasy Points Per Game
31.7
 
Fantasy Points Per Minute
1.2
 
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Our historical fantasy ratings are standard scores calculated using 8-Category settings with 12 teams and 13 players per team.
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Average Fantasy Points
Average Fantasy Points are determined when Jonas Valanciunas was active vs. non-active during the season. Click here to view average fantasy points for a different time period.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Jonas Valanciunas See More
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Latest Fantasy Rumors
Will continue playing in FIBA
CNew Orleans Pelicans
September 9, 2023
Valanciunas is not keen on retiring from international basketball after leading Lithuania to sixth place in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, per George Efkarpidis of Eurohoops. "I feel proud playing for my country," Valanciunas said. "That is what I can give for my country. This is how I can put my country on the map. I am going to keep doing that as long as my body lets me and the team needs me."
ANALYSIS
The 31-year-old center considers playing internationally an important part of his basketball responsibilities, and based on his words, he's not ready to stop it any time soon. Plus, he's only 31 years old, so he still has a few years left to continue playing at the highest level, especially since Lithuania doesn't have a clear player to replace him at the center position. Valanciunas will play the 2023-24 NBA season with the Pelicans.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2022
2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
Last season marked Valanciunas' first with the Pelicans after he signed a two-year, $30.1 million extension with the team following a trade from the Grizzlies. Zion Williamson missing the entire season allowed Valanciunas to see plenty of usage, and he picked up right where he left off in Memphis. Last season was arguably the best of his career, and he reached career highs in points (17.8), assists (2.6) and made threes (0.8) per game, as well as free-throw percentage (82.0%). That resulted in the center ranking 43rd in eight-category fantasy on a per-game basis -- his third straight year in the top 55. His numbers may take a slight dip this season while playing next to the high-usage trio of Williamson, CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram. We also may see Valanciunas shoot more threes to help space the floor for Williamson, who does all of his damage at the rim. Playing alongside Williamson could lead to more competition for rebounds, too, but Valanciunas should still be a walking 15-and-10, making him a high-floor option in the early-middle rounds of most fantasy drafts.
Last season was Valanciunas' best. The center saw 28.3 minutes per game and averaged 17.1 points, 12.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 combined blocks-plus-steals with the Grizzlies. He also shot a career-high 59.2 percent from the field. That led to him ranking 41st in fantasy on a per-game basis -- his third season in a row improving his value. Valanciunas will be on a different team in 2021-22, however, as he was dealt from Memphis to New Orleans, where he'll now share a frontcourt with emerging star Zion Williamson. It would be surprising for Valanciunas to be given fewer minutes in his new environment, though it's possible his numbers take a slight dip while playing next to the high-usage tandem of Williamson and Brandon Ingram. It's also possible we see Valanciunas shoot more threes to help space the floor for Williamson, who does all of his damage at the rim. In theory, Valanciunas can space the floor, but he's never been a high-volume outside shooter, so it will be interesting to see if that part of his game is emphasized. Over the past four seasons, Valanciunas is a combined 97-of-270 (35.9 percent) from beyond the arc. Playing alongside Williamson could lead to more competition for rebounds, but Valanciunas should still be a walking 15-and-10, making him a high-floor option in the early-middle rounds of most fantasy drafts.
Valanciunas was a key contributor in his first full season in Memphis during the 2019-20 campaign, averaging 14.9 points, a career-high 11.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists, and 1.1 blocks across 26.4 minutes over 70 games. The big man spaced the floor more than any other season prior as well, averaging a career-high 1.3 three-point attempts per contest and draining them at a 35.2 percent clip. The towering Lithuanian was pivotal to Memphis clinching a play-in berth in the Orlando bubble as well, posting six double-digit scoring efforts in seven seeding games, with five double-doubles and one triple-double in that span. Valanciunas displayed strong chemistry with dynamic point man Ja Morant and formed a formidable frontcourt tandem with Jaren Jackson. With Jackson having undergone meniscus surgery in August, there's a chance Valanciunas shoulders a bigger workload down low early in the 2020-21 season as his teammate rounds back into form. Under any circumstance, Valanciunas' solid offensive profile should keep his involvement on that end of the floor steady, potentially as a No. 3 or No. 4 option on many nights with small forward Kyle Anderson primarily focused on defense and fellow wing Dillon Brooks' shot still having plenty of room for improvement.
Valanciunas was traded to the Grizzlies shortly before the trade deadline in the Marc Gasol deal, playing 19 games with Memphis. He started 17 of those and put together strong averages of 20.2 points, 10.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. It was a career stretch for the Lithuanian big man, who has averaged 12.5 points, 8.9 boards and 1.0 blocks over the last six seasons. He took on a greatly expanded role post-trade, going from just 18.8 minutes per night in Toronto to 27.7 in Memphis. He signed a three-year, $45 million extension to remain with the Grizzlies, and he will start at center opposite Jaren Jackson in what should be a formidable frontcourt. Expect Valanciunas to carry a similar workload as he did in his brief run with Memphis at the end of last season. He'll be a quality source of points, rebounds and blocks, making him likely one of the top-75 players off the board in most fantasy formats this season.
Valanciunas once again put up strong per-minute numbers in his sixth season despite his workload being the smallest of his career. He finished the year averaging just 22.4 minutes, which was likely an attempt by the Raptors to go with some smaller, more athletic lineups to matchup better with opponents across the league. Despite more than a three-minute drop in his playing time from the year prior, Valanciunas upped his scoring to 12.7 points, and also kept similar averages elsewhere with 8.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 0.9 blocks. His value could see a resurgence heading into the upcoming campaign as well. Recently promoted head coach Nick Nurse appears to be a big fan of the seven-footer and thinks he can be effective playing alongside Kyle Lowry and newly acquired Kawhi Leonard, who was brought over in a trade that sent DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio. Valanciunas already previewed a solid three-point stroke last year, knocking down 30-of-74 attempts (40.5 percent) and has apparently continued to work on it this offseason. That improvement could help expand his game and keep him on the floor for longer durations. The Raptors haven't confirmed who will start in the frontcourt, but Valanciunas should reclaim his top spot at center, with the likes of Serge Ibaka and OG Anunoby alternating as the starting power forward. With promising youngster Jakob Poeltl also being sent to the Spurs, Valanciunas has the potential to see a slight uptick in his workload, which opens the door for him to out-perform his likely draft positioning in the mid-to-late rounds of drafts.
It was a relatively disappointing 2016-17 campaign for Valanciunas, as he didn't quite have the statistical jump that was envisioned following the departure of Bismack Biyombo to the Magic. Valanciunas ended up averaging nearly identical minutes per game with 25.8, while adding 12.0 points and 9.5 rebounds over 80 starts, both of which were similar to the previous year's totals. The addition of Serge Ibaka at the trade deadline certainly didn't help either, as that allowed the Raptors to use a more athletic center that could stretch the floor occasionally, which appears to be the trend in today's NBA landscape. With Ibaka receiving a three-year, $65 million extension this offseason, that will likely again hamper Valanciunas' ability to show improvement with his overall production. He's still penciled in as the team's starting center, but Ibaka's versatility could continue to be an issue. Playing time similar to the 25.8 minutes he saw in 2016-17 is expected for the 25-year-old, although if the Raptors continue to experiment with a more athletic lineup and are successful in doing so, that could come at the expense of Valanciunas, which would hurt his potential as a Fantasy option.
While he didn’t quite develop into a fantasy star at the center spot in his fourth NBA campaign, Valanciunas nonetheless showed some incremental growth, which he’s been able to do during every season of his career. The 24-year-old didn’t benefit from a minute increase in 2015-16, but still averaged a career-high 12.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game and shot 56.5 percent from the floor and 76.1 percent from the charity stripe. A fractured left hand ended up costing Valanciunas 22 games, disrupting what could have been a far more explosive breakout season. In Valanciunas’ stead, the energetic Bismack Biyombo proved to be a quality replacement in the starting lineup and was especially magnificent in the playoffs, when Valanciunas missed a few games with a sprained ankle. Biyombo’s capable presence either as a starter or off the bench certainly helped the Raptors from a team standpoint, but it hurt Valanciunas’ statistical output, as coach Dwane Casey often chose to split the minutes evenly between the two rather than riding one option more heavily. However, with Biyombo since bolting for the Magic this summer on a four-year, $72 million contract, Valanciunas no longer faces many threats to his playing time, as neither of his projected backups, Lucas Nogueira and first-round pick Jakob Poeltl, have served as regular rotation options in the NBA. With the promise of expanded minutes this season, only a bad beat on the health front stands in the way of Valanciunas surging past last year’s statistics. It’s probably best to view the fractured hand that temporarily derailed Valanciunas in 2015-16 as a fluke, considering he missed only three combined games in the preceding two seasons.
While expectations for Valanciunas were sky-high when he was drafted back in 2011, his slow progress has caused some Raptors fans to question whether he was really a long-term piece of the puzzle, but GM Masai Ujiri squashed any thought of getting rid of the young Lithuanian when he inked him to a four-year, $64 million extension this offseason. While he's not an elite center, Valanciunas is a positive contributor, averaging 26 minutes, 12.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.4 steals, and 1.2 blocks in 80 games while shooting 57 percent from the floor and 79 percent from the free-throw line, excellent shooting numbers for a big man. At this point in his career, he should be able to handle a bigger workload, but Raptors coach Dwane Casey all but refuses to leave Valanciunas in the game when the other team uses a smaller lineup, a decision that makes some sense in the moment given Valanciunas' defensive struggles against quicker opponents but which has also unquestionably hindered his development. Casey may now face an additional $64 million in pressure to leave Valanciunas in the lineup come what may, so this season may be his best chance to prove he has true star potential.
Young centers can often take some time to blossom, and Valanciunas was no exception in his second NBA campaign. The 22-year-old Lithuanian still turned in solid numbers as he played in and started 81 games, averaging 11.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks in 28 minutes per game while shooting 53 percent from the floor and an impressive-for-a-big 76 percent from the free-throw line (albeit on just 3.2 attempts per game). He was out of position too often on the defensive end to take full advantage of his shot-blocking potential, and despite the slew of talented, athletic guards and wings around him on the Raptors' roster, Valanciunas still tries to do a little too much offensively. He's got good size and athleticism and is developing a solid mid-range shot, and as his skills and maturity catch up with his physical tools, Valanciunas should become a consistent double-double threat. With DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry in place as the backcourt engine of the Raptors, the club is prepared to take their time and let Valanciunas develop at his own pace. He may not break out in 2014-2015, but he should take another step forward.
The 21-year-old center had an up-and-down rookie campaign with the Raptors. He routinely displayed some of the skills that made him the No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 draft, but he wasn't able to find his groove until late in the season. Once the Raptors opted to loosen the leash and hand over a full compliment of minutes to Valanciunas late in the season, he flashed future All-Star potential. Over the final 17 games of the regular season, Valanciunas averaged 14.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while shooting 63 percent from the floor and 84 percent from the line in 32 minutes per game. His productive ways carried over to the Las Vegas Summer League, where Valanciunas averaged 18.8 points and 10.0 rebounds en route to winning MVP honors. He bulked up significantly in the offseason, which should help deal with the physical rigors of the NBA game. And his skill set is considered elite for a young big man, as he has better-than-advertised athleticism and a deft touch around the rim, which will lead to a high shooting percentage. The Raptors parted ways with Andrea Bargnani this offseason and plan to hand over the keys to Valanciunas going forward. He'll have a much bigger role in his sophomore campaign and figures to be one of the more popular breakout options at the center position.
After falling to the Raptors with the fifth pick in 2011, Valanciunas will finally make his North American debut. He put up respectable numbers in Euroleague competition but struggled badly in the Olympics. He heads into the NBA looking like a solid defensive presence in the paint with great length (he's 6-11 with a big wingspan), a penchant for foul trouble and an unpolished offensive game. Don't expect a huge impact in any category outside of perhaps blocks, but in a few years there's a good chance he'll be the best true center in franchise history. If you need a comp to a current player's development curve, Tyson Chandler might be the best fit.
More Fantasy News
Strong double-double in win
CNew Orleans Pelicans
February 23, 2024
Valanciunas provided 20 points (9-12 FG, 2-2 3Pt), 14 rebounds, three assists and one steal in 27 minutes during Thursday's 127-105 victory over Houston.
ANALYSIS
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Good to go
CNew Orleans Pelicans
February 9, 2024
Valanciunas (calf) will play in Friday's game versus the Lakers, Christian Clark of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
ANALYSIS
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Questionable for Friday
CNew Orleans Pelicans
Calf
February 8, 2024
Valanciunas (calf) is questionable for Friday's game against the Lakers.
ANALYSIS
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Leaves early Wednesday
CNew Orleans Pelicans
Calf
February 7, 2024
Valanciunas has been ruled out for the remainder of Wednesday's game against the Clippers with a right calf contusion. He'll finish the game with eight points (3-3 FG, 2-2 FT), two rebounds, one assist and one steal over 11 minutes.
ANALYSIS
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Goes to locker room
CNew Orleans Pelicans
Calf
February 7, 2024
Valanciunas went to the locker room with a right calf injury during Wednesday's game against the Clippers, Mark Medina of NBA.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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