Raptors' Valanciunas on a mission to get better

Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas (right) will have to leave Summer League in Las Vegas early to join his...

Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas (right) will have to leave Summer League in Las Vegas early to join his Lithuanina teammates for the European championships. (Reuters)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:11 PM ET

LAS VEGAS — Jonas Valanciunas is the same happy big man who left Toronto at the conclusion of his rookie year.

The fact that he was playfully threatening to throw Raptors PR man Jim LaBumbard into a trash can (he had him off his feet and almost horizontal before he put him down) following a summer league workout yesterday says everything you need to know about the very likable Lithuanian.

But Valanciunas knows his first off-season following his rookie NBA campaign is as big as any off-season he will have for the rest of his career. There is work to be done and he is doing it.

After a trip home to Lithuania where he caught up on some much needed rest and even got engaged, Valanciunas was back in Toronto in June for a few weeks of some one-on-one time with head coach Dwane Casey.

The goal was to improve his post game, specifically his offensive post game, and Casey is convinced his soon-to-be sophomore centre has come a long way in that department.


Videos

Photos