A possible NFL-style lockout is looming over the NBA heading into the offseason. All eyes are on the draft this Thursday, but they will quickly be glued on the pending lockout.
Although NBA fans are praying to the basketball gods that this does not go down, others could benefit from a lengthy lockout.
Jonas Valanciunas is one of the most talented players in the draft. At just 19 years of age, he has limitless potential. He is extremely skilled around the rim, but he also has great shooting range for a big man his size. A potential top-five talent in the draft, I could see him falling to the Milwaukee Bucks at No. 10.
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He could possibly freefall even further as teams shy away due to his overseas contract, but ESPN’s Chad Ford recently shed some light on the situation.
“Valanciunas update: Sources say buyout agreement close, however, buyout won't allow Valanciunas to play in NBA next season,” Ford said this week on Twitter.
As Ford suggests that Valanciunas could miss the 2011-12 season, he would not miss a minute of NBA action if the lockout forces us to miss the entire season, as NBA analyst Charles Barkley suggested last week.
At this point, Jonas may be the only one praying for a lockout so he can sit on the sidelines with the rest of his fellow basketball brothers. He would project to be one of the top picks next season but decided to stay in the draft this year. If any general managers fear that a lockout could cost the league games next season, Valanciunas will not freefall as some expect he could.
The Toronto Raptors could very well select him at No. 5 to pair him with Andre Bargnani to create a lethal combination of versatile matchup nightmares in two seasons or so. If he doesn't go to Toronto, Joe Dumars could grab him at No. 8, though it is looking as if the Pistons will take Tristan Thompson at this point. I’ll stick with Milwaukee at No. 10, as they can pair Valanciunas with a fine veteran center in Andrew Bogut.
The imminent buyout agreement will help Valanciunas, but his inability to play next season is the reason he will fall on Thursday night.
By Brandon Galvin, Bleacher Report