In the school of hard knocks, there is no mercy, no opponent will ever give an inch and every mistake or misstep is exposed.

Jonas Valanciunas is no exception, a rookie who is getting minutes and at times getting overmatched by the speed of the NBA and its elite players.

More than any player on Toronto’s current roster, Valanciunas represents a true building block, one who has the potential to dominate at both ends of the floor once he completely grasps the NBA game.

Mind you, it’ll take time and as time continues to draw to an end for this season, there are fewer opportunities for Valanciunas to learn on the job, which is the best and only way he can possibly grow.

In Rudy Gay, the Raptors have a legitimate small forward, a position that has finally been addressed following years of trotting out the likes of Shawn Marion or a Hedo Turkoglu.

Amir Johnson has been a model of consistency at power forward.

DeMar DeRozan has struggled with his offence of late, heading into key another off-season when DeRozan has to get stronger and be able to use his dribble to create separation when playing against tougher defenders who like to crowd Toronto’s athletic off guard.

At the point, the team has to take a serious look at the position.

And then there’s Valanciunas.

Once he learns how to play with his back to basket and basically be able to control a possession, so many options will become available.

While the NBA game has turned into a game of wing players, teams must still be able to play inside/out.

In Miami, the Heat can post up LeBron James, force a foe to send help that creates open looks on the perimeter.