2) A record-breaking playoff debut
Some players wilt under the pressure of playoff basketball, while others thrive. As far as we’re concerned, Valanciunas comes in the latter category.
This was pretty evident right from the word go. Making his playoff debut against the Brooklyn Nets, Valanciunas immediately made his presence felt.
The 2013 All-Rookie Second Team selection scored 17 points and grabbed 18 rebounds which, at the time, set a new franchise record for boards in a playoff game. He also became only the second ever Raptors player to register a double-double in his postseason debut.
The only downside was that the Raptors lost Game 1 94-87. However, Valanciunas continued his form into Game 2, with 15 points and 14 rebounds to help tie the first round series at 1-1.
Despite having home court advantage, the Raptors would go on to lose the series 4-3. Regardless, at least Valanciunas proved he belonged on the big stage, finishing his first ever postseason averaging 10.9 points by shooting .633 percent, along with 9.7 rebounds and one block per contest.