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Charles Barkley gives funniest pronunciation of Jonas Valanciunas (Video)

Jonas ValanciunasOnce you hear how Jonas Valanciunas’ last name is pronounced, it’s not as hard to say as it looks. It’s pretty simple: val-un-chew-nas. But don’t tell that to Charles Barkley. Listening to him try to pronounce Valanciunas’ last name was pure gold.

Shaq and Chuck picked teams for the Rising Stars Challenge game next weekend where they oppose each other as coaches. Barkley decided to select Valanciunas, and he did it with the best pronunciation of Jonas’ name possible. I always knew there was a sauce somewhere in there.

Video via @BenGolliver

Raptors’ Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas set a hilarious double-screen (Video)

Amir-Johnson-Jonas-Valanciunas-screenIf Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas had a plan going into the Toronto Raptors’ game against the Washington Wizards on Sunday night, they executed it to perfection. Toronto may have gone on to lose the game, but Johnson and Valanciunas were down in the trenches doing the dirty work just seconds after the opening tip.

The two big men apparently got together before the game and decided they were going to spring their teammates free on offense by setting double-screens. As you can see, that entailed locking arms and setting picks that were borderline impossible to break through.

Were they just screwing around? Given Johnson’s history of wearing sneakers like this and having eccentric haircuts, that’s probably a safe bet. But if I’m ever coaching a youth basketball team, this is one of the first things I’m going to teach about moving without the ball on offense.

Caron Butler tricks Jonas Valanciunas with fake high five (Video)

Caron Butler Jonas ValanciunasCaron Butler was clearly frustrated at the end of the Los Angeles Clippers’ 98-73 blowout loss to the Toronto Raptors Friday, so he decided to get in the metaphorical last word.

Butler walked up to Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas who was just going to hold onto the ball until time ran out. Butler pretended to give Valanciunas a high five, but he pried away the ball for a steal and raced ahead for a layup.

I know what you’re thinking — Butler probably had the over for the game and was trying to push the total over 171. Just kidding. Butler is just a competitive guy who doesn’t like to lose, so that was probably his way of working out some frustration.

H/T The Point Forward

A Beginner’s Guide to the 2011 NBA Draft: Profiles on All the Top Prospects

Reading NBA draft previews sometimes feels like wading through Princess Bride-style quicksand. With so many names to remember and stats to sift through, it can be hard to figure out what draft info is important and what’s just unnecessary nonsense.

Do you care as a casual fan, for instance, that Enes Kanter has 5.9% body fat? Or that Marcus Morris can run three quarters of the court in 3.2 seconds whereas his twin brother, Markieff, runs it in 3.4 seconds? Not really, right?

You just want the basics. Which is why I wrote this beginner’s guide.

Draft lunatics will already know most of what is written below. It’s not quantum physics, just a good starting place for people staring at the screen on draft night wondering “who is that guy?”

If you’re here for insight into Nikola Vucevic’s standing reach, you’ve come to the wrong place. But if cheat sheet info delivered in 100 words or less is your thing, I’m your guy. You won’t find any quicksand here.

Here’s my Cliff Notes-style guide to the 2011 NBA draft:

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