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Thread: 2020 Lithuanian NT: in a chase of Olympic dream

  1. #441
    Senior Member Shawshank's Avatar
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    Zalgiris 2019/2020 12-16 record season i dont consider winning (Alba 9-19 same story).

    NT 2019 11th place is not what i called winning either.But yes draw was very hard and they show first really good signs of what we need .At that age i projected btw usually happens around 24-25

    Lukas will put pts numbers because that what he really good at as combo scorer.But when we are talking about playmaking ,controling tempo Mantas 2013-2016 was up there with the best fiba Pg.

    Grigonis really had chance to be Kaukenas level guard,but those injuries is killing him. But he cant guard anybody from Pg-Sg like Seibutis could in 2012-2016.

    There is reason why in 2019 vs australia coach decided to guard Mills with Butkevicius,not Lukas,not Grigonis,not old Seibutis or Kalnietis,but with freaking SF position player. Nobody stopped Mills in that tournament with those dirty aus picks for him ,but still when coach first desicion is to defend 1m88 very fast player with not with one of our backourt player it says something about their defence abilities overall.

    Both Seibutis and Kalnietis peaked around 2012-2013 and was very good fit together.Both long guards,very good characters and was all team orientated guards and competed until nothing left in them.

    Today put 2 Kalnietis,Seibutis from 2013 and today Lukas and Grigonis 2020.Im telling you Grigonis arent scoring alot and with bad % againts that Seibutis energy and pressure and Lukas maybe will outscore on points,but Mantas will produce more pts overall for the team with his pts+assist like your stats show. Overall production wise is getting close,but i have questions mentality and fit wise with our new backourt.

    in 2021 Lukas and Marius will be similiar age as Mantas and Renaldas was in 2013 and they already was winning 2nd medal in that tournament.So its really time for our new backourt in 2021 show something winning wise.

    With Jokubaitis we will see,hopefully he gonna replace Mantas in 2022 in NT ,but he needs abit luck next season.He cant be 3rd pg again for Zalgiris and play only 15min per week in lkl.Maybe this epidemic will help in that way that Zalgiris wont be able to keep both Lukas and Walkup and Rokas will become backup pg.Once similiar story happend in other crisis for young Mantas.

    Until those D.Giedraitis and Marciulionis possibly (big if) will be ready play against best mens in fiba ,im sure Lukas and Grigonis will be at todays Kalnietis and Seibutis veterans stage

    With Jokubaitis is more chances that he can help Lukas,Marius in 2022/2023/2024 because he already started very early seeing/touching best men tournaments.
    Last edited by Shawshank; 05-18-2020 at 12:00 AM.

  2. #442
    Senior Member Shawshank's Avatar
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    Sorry mate nobody remembers tournaments when NT finished 5th or 11th,but everybody remembers when team was playing semifinal game.

    Thats very seriuos criteria judging players career overall. Yes you can lose tough playoofs,but eventually you still gonna win in other years ...(experience,mental toughness increases with every such painfull lose in players) .Ofcourse if you are one from all time great list player from countries history.
    Last edited by Shawshank; 05-18-2020 at 12:00 AM.

  3. #443

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    All Kalnietis, Seibutis, Pocius were some kind of serious NT overachievers. Kalnietis was that kind of player who thrives when he feels he's the best guard and has all the freedom to play his game. As a role player he's not feeling so comfortable. That's another common trait with Velicka, IMO. So, yeah, maybe at the moment 10's peaking bacourt would still have an edge, but when it comes EL - Lekavicius and Grigonis surpassed those guys, IMO.

    Nope, we won't need to wait 7 years till Marciulionis and D. Giedraitis will ripe Grigonis and Lekavicius both have 7 years till they become veterans as Kalnietis. The thing is that it seems we are in very unique situation. We have 4 guard early bloomers. That's young players who possess certain level of BB IQ, game maturity very early. Their fundaments are being felt early and they are able to control themselves. Those 4 players are Marciulionis, Jokubaitis, Sirvydis, D. Giedraitis (+ Blazevic, Tubelis, Murauskas, but those are bigs, so let's leave them aside). All high IQ players, all good system players, all have more or less all around game, all showing supreme decision making and maturity. That's the difference. Grigonis at that age was too wild, soft and lost. I really don't remember anything like that. Maybe Siskauskas, Macijaukas duo is closest to that. Those were early bloomers also, but now we have 4 early bloomers coming pretty much at the same time and that's very unique situation.

    Most players, even talented ones, are not early bloomers. Such are Echodas, Kulboka, Sedekerskis, Masiulis, Brazdeikis, Velicka. They are good prospect, but they need time to get their sh... together. They need more time to get it, to observe the details, little things ect. While guys like Marciulionis, Jokubaitis have very good natural instincts, IQ, ability to learn new things quickly. Sirvydis and Giedraitis as well. Both, specially, Sirvydis, already have some serious experience for 19yo. So I'm really curious to see how this situation will develop, because we never before had 4 backourt players as a high IQ and all around skill early bloomers.

    It's not a surprise that all 4 players are sons of former BB players.
    Last edited by Straight forward; 05-18-2020 at 07:55 AM.
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  4. #444
    Senior Member Svajunas's Avatar
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    Regarding the Seibutis, Kalnietas vs Lekavicius, Grigonis discussion. For me seeing what can Grigonis do on the floor says it all. He is way above all others in my books. Dude can penetrate and create his own shot way better then either Kalnietis or Seibutis. He can also knock down a 3 on a better rate. Talent wise he is better, period. If you look back to 2019NT he was already very solid there and that team was very close to beating AUS and FRA. No need to forget that just because we came short. We can argue what Mantas and Seibutis did for our NT, but they never had the talent to do it even if they did overachieve simply because they were given chance. Now it's time to give chance to other guys.

    IMO Lukas and Marius will be > Mantas and Reinaldas

  5. #445
    Senior Member Shawshank's Avatar
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    SF you again talking about 2025 team like in basketnews podcats.They choosen team for 2025 and i agree with them by that time those players most likely will be key.

    But Grigonis and Lukas peak years will be 2021-2022-2023-2024 who will help them in those years ?

    After 2024 Olympics who cares they will be veterans.Especially Lukas age gonna get him faster than Kalnietis long guard for obviuos reasons . Grigonis with every such injury he wont get to 34 or 35 what Kalnietis or Seibutis manage to do,it can more of Pocius case finish early his career because of injuries.Not every guard plays till 34-35 on that level.

    Kalnietis,Seibutis,Pocius was euroleague level guards and played there.Dont need to minimaze their tallents in their peak years.Not every guards plays for Madrid Real or Olympiacos teams or are starting PG for uleb champions team in elite russian team.Yes that trio werent some elite guards like in 00s ltu top generation guards were,but people are minimazing their level just because previuos generation was stacked in backourt.

    That Grigonis and Lekavicius can be better nobody argues.

    I argue they need to win something in order even to consider them better.Now no way they did anything by this point to say they are better. Tallent is one thing,but find a way to max your tallents in right moment and win in playoofs is tottaly diffrent thing.

    NT are not reaching 2 eurobasket finals back to back with lkl level guards ,at some point in any road to finals team will face real euroleague/nba players.

    We will have top 5 frontcourt in fiba tournaments for next 3-4 years and if our NT fail to win medal its on our backourt.Our world class frontcourt will do their job.

    Will our backourt do we will see.
    Last edited by Shawshank; 05-18-2020 at 12:34 PM.

  6. #446

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    No-one is discrediting Kalnietis, Seibutis backourt (well, I don't count how madmax here reflects Kalnietis sometimes...), it's more an attempt to judge them objectively. At the end of the day we need more time for this, as Lukas and Marius just heading towards their prime.

    That's speculation on how long Lukas and Marius will go. None of them have career changing injuries. Grigonis can easily be a long timer, his game is not based on athleticism so much. Lekavicius depends on his quickness a lot, but I don't think quickness cease just as you turn thirty as some put it. I predict, he will be NT material at least till 32, if we still need him.

    Your argument that you have to win something it's valid, but it's relative. Again, it's one thing to take down some more or less average Italy and Croatia in 2013 knock out stage and to take down 2019 France and Australia. Those are different level goals and aims. The fact that we were so close beating those teams says that we were a good team, and Grigonis with Lekavicius dropped tons of points in these games. Context of competition is the key.

    "But Grigonis and Lukas peak years will be 2021-2022-2023-2024 who will help them in those years ?"

    You put 5 seasons perspective. Now we ain't even in 2020 summer season yet. In such a long time there might pan out new name which we don't know anything about him or little. He may be balling now as 20yo in some NKL. That's your problem, you are thinking that things changing very slowly, but 5 years is a lot. All Jokubaitis, Sirvydis, D. Giedraitis belongs to 20yo category this summer (even if Jokubaitis a bit younger, but he's from same generation). That means in 2023 they all will be 23yo. That's the age when even some above average NT talents may have a chance to sneak in. If we speak that 19/20yo Jokubaitis is knocking to NT doors, Marciulionis can start doing this even sooner because he dominated NKL the way Jokubaitis never did and is bigger prospect overall. We should also mention Velicka, wing Brazdeikis, or already 22yo wing M. Jogela. There's tons of possibilities, and only time will show who will be most ready. Now we can only speak more realistically about 2021 and at the moment I have this backcourt, yet already in 2022 it will be different, IMO:

    Lekavicius (combo), Kalnietis (PG), Jokubaitis (PG)
    Grigonis (SG), R. Giedraitis (wing)

    PS: Even in upcoming season things might change rather radically. Let's first see how close we can get to that 2021 projection. There's just too many things going on. I can only bet that Lekavicius, Grigonis, Jokubaitis will surely be in this 5 years stretch. 2 other pieces is extremely hard to guess now.
    Last edited by Straight forward; 05-18-2020 at 01:43 PM.
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  7. #447
    Senior Member Svajunas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawshank View Post
    SF you again talking about 2025 team like in basketnews podcats.They choosen team for 2025 and i agree with them by that time those players most likely will be key.

    But Grigonis and Lukas peak years will be 2021-2022-2023-2024 who will help them in those years ?

    After 2024 Olympics who cares they will be veterans.Especially Lukas age gonna get him faster than Kalnietis long guard for obviuos reasons . Grigonis with every such injury he wont get to 34 or 35 what Kalnietis or Seibutis manage to do,it can more of Pocius case finish early his career because of injuries.Not every guard plays till 34-35 on that level.

    Kalnietis,Seibutis,Pocius was euroleague level guards and played there.Dont need to minimaze their tallents in their peak years.Not every guards plays for Madrid Real or Olympiacos teams or are starting PG for uleb champions team in elite russian team.Yes that trio werent some elite guards like in 00s ltu top generation guards were,but people are minimazing their level just because previuos generation was stacked in backourt.

    That Grigonis and Lekavicius can be better nobody argues.

    I argue they need to win something in order even to consider them better.Now no way they did anything by this point to say they are better. Tallent is one thing,but find a way to max your tallents in right moment and win in playoofs is tottaly diffrent thing.

    NT are not reaching 2 eurobasket finals back to back with lkl level guards ,at some point in any road to finals team will face real euroleague/nba players.

    We will have top 5 frontcourt in fiba tournaments for next 3-4 years and if our NT fail to win medal its on our backourt.Our world class frontcourt will do their job.

    Will our backourt do we will see.
    I would argue that our world class frontcourt failed in 2019. Sabonis was mehh but JV underperformed. Yes coach used him different way, but I've watched 2019 games again during last couple weeks and it's obvious that JV after a great NBA season came not in the best shape. His body was okay, but he was missing those shots that he usually used to make. He would finish shooting 6/12 which is okay, but considering how much he must compansate for his defensive flaws, I had hoped for his 10/13 games. However not only shooting, it was clear that he was not himself last year. He was schooled by Baynes and Gobert. If he can't outplay at least one of them, then we shouldn't call him world class.

  8. #448
    Senior Member madmax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Svajunas View Post
    I would argue that our world class frontcourt failed in 2019. Sabonis was mehh but JV underperformed. Yes coach used him different way, but I've watched 2019 games again during last couple weeks and it's obvious that JV after a great NBA season came not in the best shape. His body was okay, but he was missing those shots that he usually used to make. He would finish shooting 6/12 which is okay, but considering how much he must compansate for his defensive flaws, I had hoped for his 10/13 games. However not only shooting, it was clear that he was not himself last year. He was schooled by Baynes and Gobert. If he can't outplay at least one of them, then we shouldn't call him world class.
    JV was struggling?
    He put up 14 and 9 in 22 minutes on 64% shooting from the field. How is that struggling shooting wise? The only game where he struggled was the game against aussies, but he always struggles against Baynes for some reason, so it was kinda expected there.As for Gobert, JV outplayed him as usual (just like in NBA), and only incompetent refs maybe robbed us from upsetting french in that game...while Sabonis was indeed struggling shooting only 48% from the floor and missing loads of important layups
    Last edited by madmax; 05-18-2020 at 06:24 PM.

  9. #449

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    JV was so so in WC. IMO, pretty much his common self in FIBA. Against elite opponents (France, Australia) 12,5pt, 7,5rebs, 0,5as. Sabonis against elite opposition was below his capabilities and seemed to be off his position and identity, except stretches when he played center. He had a good game against Australia when JV struggled and he played more at 5. My suggestion is the same. Allow JV to stay in perimeter and take his jumpers, threes, while Sabonis should be banging inside and playing p'n'r. One of main issues with JV wasn't only p'n'r and perimeter defence, but also transition defence. If JV stays in perimeter, it will be easier for him to play D as well. Off course, we have to feed him inside as well, but there should be more spacing between the 2. Personally I think 2021 will be the last attempt to mix those together and most likely failure. How conteporary ball is build, Sabonis should play 25min as a stating center, leaving JV 15min of action. But we won't go for this cause JV has too much respect and false hopes. Sabonis will have to snatch another ALL STAR season to make his position clear - it should be about Sabonis at 5. You can not to give a f...about D in NBA regular season. In FIBA you get slaughtered. And Mills, De Colo did just that. Sunk 2 consecutive game winners in JV's face. Personally I don't remember as disappointing 2 elite game losses in a row. You get slaughtered once and it hurts, but this time 2 deadly punches. Really painful tournament, specially knowing that we were so close. JV had to sit his ass down in last minutes. Saras would had find ways to play JV for offence, Sabonis for D in the game against France, I'm pretty sure.

    In recent tournaments the story is about the ame: Greece slaughtered us using multiple p'n'r in 2017, Australia and France slaughtered us using multiple p'n'r in 2019. The trajectory isn't all that nice. Personally, I don't change my position. We ain't winning a thing relying heavily on JV and playing with fire at D keeping him on the court. That's turning your back to progress and opening the target for opponents weapons.
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  10. #450
    Senior Member Shawshank's Avatar
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    Valanciunas was on the floor in both games when NT erased those deficits !

    Againts France he was roaring and fighting like lion inside with those France athletes thats fiba commentators words that in replay game I heard in 4 querter.Gobert really looked scared of that strength and energy. If Jonas wouldnt have taken over in 4th querter we are not talking about referees bad whistle and Decolo game winner.WE simply lose by 10-12pts

    Valanciunas simply played better in those 2 games and thats why he played more simple as that.Maybe Domantas will play better next time and he will get more minutes.

    Replay I watched shown me same things I remembered.Nt team playing only one center+4 mobile players looked very good and both our centers played well in such situations.Where NT struggled when they both played together.For some reason in those situations neither of them was playing well.

    I don't know why Adomaitis was so stuck finishing games with both of them together. If he choosen only one at the time we would have atleast won one game.


    Australia and France beat us not with their frontcourt,but with backourt players.Baynes and Gobert is not good pikenrool defenders either no 2m10+ big is.

    Enough to look how small Argentinians guards punished Gobert/Jokic in playoffs.But our backourt couldn't take advantage of that in crunch time as more higher level guards of our opponents could.

    It's ridiculous to play last 5 min with 2 centers that's a fact in todays basketball.Adomaitis can talk as much as he wants that numbers showed that our 2 stars together was doing + score yeah againts Canada 2nd team and Senegal, but not againts elite teams.

    Valanciunas or Sabonis atleast one of them will do seriuos damages in every single game going further,no way in hell team are stopping both of them in same game. Its simple the one that plays in game better plays more.

    I can't say same about our backourt looking further.


    Guards have ball in their hands in last 2 minutes not centers.Our NBA 2 star's can fight like lions inside,but if guards is not stepping up in those moments it will be tough beating elite teams. Grigonis and Lukas showed they can in euroleague,its time to see that with NT.Its not just about scoring, but sometimes stopping most dangeriuos guards too at crunch time.Seibutis made living with that in nT.

    pikenrool defence is defended by both guards and center.If centers is bad in such defence and guard also is bad defender overall its impossible to defend world class guard in such case . Valanciunas was playing huge minutes in 2015 when our team used to win all close games with u-70 games.I imagine Kazlauskas could hide Valanciunas bad pikenroll defence because guards was doing way better job fighting over picks than our backourt did in Adomaitis era in NT.

    Its hard to imagine worse tandem to defend pikenrool than JV+Lukas. Jonas didnt look so bad in Kazlauskas built defence,he had guards who did allot of dirty job in defence.

    In Adomaitis era our NT was killed in pikenrools by world class guards in 3 main games thats true.But that was problem not only by our centers,but our backourt defence too its way too soft.Thats why Sf player Butkevicius must try to defend 1m88 PG in Adomaitis era,because we cant find alot of defence in our backourt.

    In 2019 2players 33+ veterans,1m80 combo scorer and Grigonis very moody and not stable player.
    In 2017 our backourt defence was even better with Gecevicius,Juskevicius and Milaknis

    After Seibutis got old we dont have a single player to guard Sloukas/Mills type fast guards and in Adomaitis era we paid big price for that.But ofcourse as Sf would say its Valanciunas fault as always that he cant guard 25cm smaller guys
    Last edited by Shawshank; 05-19-2020 at 04:17 PM.

  11. #451

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    He also was on the floor when he was missing his post up opportunities in the first half and France was increasing the distance while he struggled defensively as well. You saying not bigs punished Lihuania, but guards...exactly, now every skilled guard loves to play against such centers as Valanciunas. They know they will get so much freedom in perimeter and that will be a fiesta for them. JV can't switch, period. Kazlauskas didn't cover JV's issues of that. In 2016 Australia just slaughtered us is an ugly way, Spain as well. And I mean ugly...Since 2016 the tendency is getting more obvious. Teams goes small and utilizes inflexible defences with traditional bruisers. We got punished in 2016, 2017, 2019. In the first half of 10's, small ball was just starting to grow. Now, in 2020 to bark how JV kind of center is sort of future is really cringy TBH. Basketball shifted and those team which will refuse with aknowledge changes will be slaughtered. No surprise Serbia also didn't get much trying to use 2 traditional bigs, even of Jokic is super skilled traditional big. Basketball today is guards and all around wings game. It used to be bigs game, but it's all gone. Those who now trying to build around bigs are posed for failure. I don't even think Giannis will ever reach Lebron, Durant level because he's too much of a big and lacks craft. Lithuania will always remain borderline-elite NT (at best) till their will ripe enough guard and all around wing power. There's no other way. Even if we would have three all star bigs.

    I would say both Grigonis and lukevicius were big in WC, just happened to lack a bit of lack and thicker skin a little bit. Both made much of clutch buckets, but also missed those last nails into coffin to get as a wins. They need just one further step to be ready to win games in FIBA. Also Sabonis missed that key lay-up after offensive rebound which was indicator that he's not yet ready to handle such games at his best. To me, mainly it's about how much Grigonis, Sabonis, Lekavicius can add more in 2021. Those are key growing players. None of JV, Ulanovas are growing all that much any more. They have peaked already and are what they are. Might have slightly better or worse tournaments, but as more serious leaps, it's mainly in Grigonis and Sabonis (it's tough to ask more from Lekavicius than he brought in 2019, but he can play even better, IMO).
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  12. #452

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    WC 2019 scoring against elite teams (FR/AU) in WC:

    Grigonis 29pts
    Lekavicius 25pts
    Valanciunas 25pts
    Sabonis 19pts

    Generated points (scoring + assists):

    Sabonis 35-43 pts
    Lekavicius 35-40 pts
    Grigonis 33-36pts
    Valanciunas 27-28pts

    Conclusion? With Sabonis at 5 you still get the same tough screens for guards, better perimeter D and more assists than JV is able to provide (compare 8 Sabonis assists to JV's 1). NT is better with Sabonis at 5. And Sabonis was just scratching the surface playing off his position a lot.
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  13. #453
    Senior Member LuDux's Avatar
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    +/- in FRA and AUS games
    Domas + SF's 27 mn 50-46 (+6 per 40mn)
    Jonas + Domas 25 mn 44-61 (-27)
    Jonas + SF's 20 mn 46-29 (+34)
    Jonas + Jankunas 4 mn 8-15
    Jankunas + SF's 4 mn 9-14

    Jonas 52 94-107 (-10)
    Domas 50 98-105 (-6)

  14. #454

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    We can witness obvious growth of NT in 2019 because of simple fact - we had more backourt presence. Lekavicius, Grigonis played well and Kalnietis still was very decent. That's how we came close with such elite teams as France and Australia. We should be adding to the backourt and crafty wings to continue to improve as a powerhouse.
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  15. #455
    Senior Member LuDux's Avatar
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    Valanciunas ef/40
    2011 28.3
    2012 18.9
    2013 24.5
    2014 30.7
    2015 32.1
    2016 15.5
    2017 33.9
    2019 36.6

  16. #456
    Senior Member madmax's Avatar
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    SF can preach his agenda about JV till his face gets blue, but the fact still remains that Jonas is still by far our best scorer and most efficient NT player -these are cold hard facts, not agenda driven BS coming from this poster's mouth. Until someone can actually outplay JV from our NT, he has to be respected as our best player. Period

  17. #457

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    Quote Originally Posted by madmax View Post
    SF can preach his agenda about JV till his face gets blue, but the fact still remains that Jonas is still by far our best scorer and most efficient NT player -these are cold hard facts, not agenda driven BS coming from this poster's mouth. Until someone can actually outplay JV from our NT, he has to be respected as our best player. Period
    You're not improving, dude. He was 5th in generating points against elite opponents (FRA/AUS). After Lekavicius, Kalnietis, Grigonis, Sabonis. Deal with facts. I don't want to upset you, but if you will jump on me, I will have to write all the words that you actually deserve, but I'm afraid you're too weak to handle this, so I won't. I will spear you from creating other profiles to jump on me in other sections of forums and will save your time. And no, he wasn't by far best scorer in NT, he had 14ppg while Lekavicius 13ppg. You don't even understand what you're talking about. Hire a teacher, read books, meditate. Do whatever it takes to stop writing complete bullshit as you just did.
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  18. #458

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    I missed this interview, but respect to Kalnietis that he projects situation objectively. Instead flattering his own generation, he says NT will probably be even stronger in 2021. Sabonis and Zalgiris studs are growing. Besides, and that's my own take, in a year one or two youngsters can really step forward (Jokubaitis surely won't be any worse after one year, surely) and become potential X factors with some small, but meaningful roles. Also interesting thoughts about previous NT seasons

    The leap in 2019 is obvious and respect to Kalnietis that he even said this 2019 NT was more balanced than previous ones, even if those snatched medals. That's a very nice to hear from a person who actually treats his own legacy and achievements critically and not drawing some romantic stories about the glory of 84-86 generation as some do. Mantas always was very down to earth and rational guy and a player:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Lq-5z6gjBs
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  19. #459
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    I'm not sure what that glory is but i'm sure it's hard to overrate 84-85 generation. The thing is that they could reach basically everything they could. They won youth WC that could do the same only JV generation but Valanciunas was the most dominant prospect we had. Seibutis, Maciulis, Jankunas, Jomantas, Babrauskas wasn't the most talented package we had and they missed Kleiza and Kalnietis there but they did that. They were very good fighters and could give a tough defence and the most important thing they could bring that to the senior level. It's more important than a pure talent and they proved that winning medals against more talented teams. I would say they deserve some glory but i didn't hear so much but even if i would i would be totally ok with that.

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