After being blown out by Australia in Wednesday’s quarterfinal game and out of the Rio Olympics, Lithuania’s head coach, Jonas Kazlauskas could not keep his frustration to himself and expressed disappointment to arguably their most important player, Jonas Valanciunas.
A tweet by Donatas Urbonas of 24Sek summarizes how the 61-year-old bench tactician felt towards the 7-foot center:
Kazlauskas on Valanciunas: 'I wish him to understand, that if you live only by talent, this fairy-tale can end one day'
— Donatas Urbonas (@Urbodo) August 17, 2016
Jonas Valanciunas’ disappointing Olympics
Valanciunas had a very dismal overall performance at the Olympic Games, only averaging 6.7 points on 39 percent shooting. He almost had the same number of turnovers – 13 – as field goals, 16. What’s more concerning was his presence on the floor did not serve his team well as they were outscored when he’s inserted in the lineup. His quarterfinals showing was his worst as he had a plus minus-22 in 24 minutes. After having his best season in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors last year, expectations were higher than ever but unfortunately, he was not able to deliver for his home country.
According to a report by John Schuhmann for NBA.com’s Hang Time Blog, Kazlaukas still has belief in the 24 year old to eventually lead Lithuania to more success in the future. However, the coach thinks Valanciunas needs to dedicate himself more to basketball.
Valanciunas admitted he played poorly and knows he has to do a better job on the mental aspect of the game:
“I was pretty bad, I got to do something with my head.”
Valanciunas’ Olympic future
The good news for the former fifth pick of the 2011 draft is that he is still young and has one or more chances of making it to Olympics again and show everyone his performance in this quadrennial event is a fluke. He already proved that he can play well in international tournaments. He averaged 14.4 points, 8.4 rebounds in 69% shooting during the 2014 FIBA World Cup. At last year’s EuroBasket, he averaged 16 points and 8.4 rebounds while leading his team to a silver medal finish.
He Valanciunas needs to get back to his old self as NBA training camps will start next month to prepare for the 2016-17 season. The fans in Toronto are hoping their starting center plays at the level he was at last year.