By John Askounis/ email@example.com
Did not seem likely at first, but the playoffs are not out of reach for the Memphis Grizzlies. The Tennessee organization is building for the future with plenty of young upstarts in the squad, but that is not the case for Jonas Valanciunas.
His latest offensive outburst came on Sunday with a team-high 30 points for the win on the road opposite to the Phoenix Suns. He showcased his range with 3/4 three-pointers, tallied eight boards, four dimes, two blocks and one steal as well.
“We can play hard every second,” mentioned Valanciunas commenting on the game at the Talking Stick Resort Arena, “Every time we step on the court we play hard, that’s our mentality and our identity.”
Down to Memphis
The Lithuanian center was traded to the Grizzlies about one year ago, last February. Moved his vast NBA experience with the Toronto Raptors and since improved his numbers. He’s only 27, but is already going through his eighth NBA campaign.
Closing his 2018-19 season, averaged career-highs 19.9 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per appearance with his new team. Currently following up with 14.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2 assists per 2019-20 contest.
Valanciunas didn’t even attempt three-pointers consistently up to the 2017-18 season. That year sank 32 for the Raptors, made 14 more in 2018-19 between his two teams. With three more on Sunday improved his season total to 23.
In pace for a personal-best, the Lithuanian big promised that a lot more shots beyond the arc are coming. “It’s not it yet” he responded to a question on him draining threes.
Chance for the postseason
Nearly halfway through the Regular Season, the Grizzlies sit ninth in the West, half a win behind the eighth spot. If Valanciunas keeps steady, his improved range can go a long way for a playoffs berth.