Starter: Jonas Valanciunas
Depth: Greg Monroe
The center position is a little more clear north of the border, with Jonas Valanciunas locking down the five spot as he has for the majority of his five-year NBA career. Val has only come off the bench in six of his 440 games, and there is nothing to suggest he’ll add to that tally in 2018-19.
Putting up 12 points and nine rebounds a night almost on repeat for the past four seasons, coach Nurse can easily predict what he will get from the 7-foot Lithuanian. Via the Toronto Sun, Nurse is looking to expand on that productivity this season, and not just from a scoring perspective.
"“We are expanding his offensive responsibilities a little bit,” Nurse said. “I am hoping to give him more chances to defend different people. He’s got to be able to guard more than just the 5 in today’s NBA game. You guys know we have a one-on-one tournament every day. That isn’t just for the offensive guys."
Valanciunas himself has bought into this and is eyeing off the possibility of becoming more a distributor with offensive stars surrounding him on the floor.
"“A lot of dudes just understand holding the ball in your hand is scoring,” Valanciunas said. “No. Holding the ball in your hand is creating opportunities for other players. That’s what I wanna do, that’s what I wanna get better on passing, just creating opportunities for guards, whoever is on the court. So it’s not about scoring, just team sport.”"
Having always been a guy that appeared to have more in the tank, this is certainly a positive sign moving forward for Raps fans.
In another solid addition, Greg Monroe was acquired in free agency. ‘Moose’ is set to fill in minutes at the five, though those opportunities may be few and far between with Val and Ibaka on the roster. Nonetheless, he is a valuable guy to have around in case of emergency.