|(2/4/15) Raptors coach Dwayne Casey pulled C Jonas Valanciunas from Monday's loss to the Bucks with five minutes to go in the third quarter.
Despite the fact that Valanciunas posted a first-half double double in the game, Casey left him on the bench for the final 17 minutes of the game.
Despite being the team's only reliable scorer on Monday, Casey wasn't willing to put up with Valanciunas' lack of mobility on defense, opting for Tyler Hansbrough instead.
"I think, oh definitely, he can be in the game [in fourth quarters],” Casey told Eric Koreen of the National Post. “Somebody asked if it’s something he can develop — he’s getting there. He’s better this year than he was before in his first couple years in the league, of guarding perimeter guys, staying in front, staying down in the stance. He’s getting better. Is he there yet? No."
Until he gets there, he may find himself on the bench during crunch time.
Later in the day, Bob Mackowycz of TSN Radio asked Raptors executive vice president Jeff Weltman about Valanciunas' late-game playing time.
"JV is doing so well," Weltman said. "That kid is so far ahead of anyone's expectations right now. ... Largely, when he doesn't play at the end of games, it's a function of a matchup."
Weltman said that eventually Valanciunas would develop into a dominant player who could stay in the game and make teams pay for going small against the Raptors, instead of being forced to the bench.