EM – Pelicans made the right decision to renew Jonas Valanciunas


The New Orleans Pelicans believe that Jonas Valanciunas will play a vital role for their team going forward as he can help unlock Zion Williamson’s game by playing inside (as a rebounder and shot blocker) and outside (as a three- Point shooter) impression makes who takes care of distance). Because of that, the Pelicans agreed to put Valanciunas on hold for an additional two years via a $ 30.1 million extension earlier this week to ensure the 29-year-old stays in New Orleans during his heyday.

It is not easy to find a center that can do anything the pelicans ask for. After all, Valanciunas was the only player in the NBA who averaged at least 12.0 rebounds per game last year while shooting 35.0% off the three-point range, which is why the Pelicans acted for him this off-season.

New Orleans acquired the 29-year-old from the Memphis Grizzlies as part of a three-team deal in which the Pels swapped Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe.

Valanciunas was treated after a career year averaging 17.1 points, 12.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.9 blocks while he was 59.2% off the field, 36.8% off three and 77.3% shot from the free throw line. His 12.5 rebounds ranked third best in the NBA and his average of 4.1 offensive rebounds per game was the second best in the league. He hit a career high of 49 double doubles, picking up his 5,000 on December 30th. Career rebound.

Now the Pelicans are hoping it can offer the same versatility and production over the next three years.

“He can do a little bit of anything – post, get in early, put up great screens, great reels, he can shoot the ball,” said Kira Lewis Jr. of Valanciunas. “He really doesn’t have any holes as a big man so he’s a huge contributor to our team’s success and I’m looking forward to how he continues to play this season.”

The big man won over head coach Willie Green with his dedication and competitiveness last season when he refused to sit out games. He was even kicked out of the Pelicans show at the Orlando Magic after hiring a few technicians.

“He’s a competitor,” said Coach Green. “Jonas, he gets in there and messes everything up. Look, he got two technical exams in the preseason! He was kicked out! I haven’t seen that yet. I’m not paying his fine, but I don’t mind him trying to set the tone. ”

Green is excited to have Valanciunas for the next three years, and he pointed out that JV can also take a seasoned lead (which New Orleans lacked last season). The 10-year-old vet had a similar impact last season in Memphis, where he helped the young Grizzlies win 38 games and reach the playoffs.

“Jonas brings a veteran presence to our team,” said Green. “He can post, he can shoot the ball from the outside. On top of that, he’s a great guy. He’s been doing this for a number of years and we need his know-how. ”

The pelicans have a number of new faces, including Valanciunas, Devonte ’Graham, Trey Murphy III, Tomas Satoransky and Garrett Temple. The team will have to develop chemistry later this year – and Zion is currently undergoing surgery to repair a broken fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot – but there’s no question the pelicans will have a high ceiling once they do it reach full vigor.

“There are a lot of new people [and] we’re all trying to learn from each other,” said Naji Marshall. “Just as Coach Green tries to learn us, we try to learn him, so it’s a chemistry thing. We’ll get better as the season progresses … It’s all great atmosphere on and off the pitch. We just have to learn from each other – how we like the ball, how we move, and so on, just a few little chemistry stuff, simple fixes that come with time and repetition. ”

New Orleans is hoping to end its three-year post-season drought and become a multi-year playoff team, with Valanciunas playing a big role on and off the pitch.

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