Jonas Valanciunas to make debut with Toronto Raptors on Thursday

Mike Stobe - Getty Images

2011 first-round draft pick Jonas Valanciunas will make his NBA debut with the Toronto Raptors on Thursday. What kept him out of the NBA before now?

Jonas Valanciunas, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors, will make his NBA debut for the Raptors on Thursday night, according to the National Post's Eric Koreen. Valanciunas, a 7'0 center from Lithuania, will make his debut against the Detroit Pistons at the Palace at Auburn Hills.

Despite being drafted by the Raptors in 2011, Valanciunas had to wait a season before he could take a $2.5 million contract buyout from his European team, Lietuvos Rytas of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation (LKF). While playing for Rytas, Valanciunas averaged 10.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game while shooting 63.4% from the field, helping Rytas to third place in the Eurocup Tournament.

In LKF, Valanciunas helped Rytas to the championship in 2010. He is also a three-time LKF All-Star and a two-time LKF All-Star game MVP. Valanciunas was also named MVP of the Europe Under-16 Championship in 2009, Europe Under-18 Championship in 2010 and the World Under-19 Championship in 2011.

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