Donatas Motiejunas, a 7-foot, 215 pound, Lithuanian born shooting center/power forward is projected to be taken between the twelfth and the twenty-second pick. Many people thought that Donatas would enter the 2010 draft, but, instead, Motiejunas opted to return to Italy in order to work on his game. In his second season with Benetton Treviso, he played very well in the Italian Lega A, shooting 66% from two, and 46% from three.
Overall he posted a stat line of 12.8 ppg/ 4.4 rpg/ and 0.9 apg in the Italian league. In Eurocup action he averaged 10.9 ppg/ 5.6 rpg/ 0.8 apg.
Scouting Report: Motiejunas is a face up power forward who has a somewhat consistent three, and a very nice two-point shot from the top of the key. Unfortunately, due to his lack of any sort of bulk, weighing in at just over 200 pounds, Donatas is very weak in both the offensive and defensive post. Motiejunas will often settle for outside jump shots rather then trying to bang inside with other big men. His defense is a big question as well; obviously he is going to have to pack on some weight if he wants to stand a chance in the NBA. Though, even if he adds weight, it stands to show whether or not he will become a dynamic defender, and be able to guard the likes of Dwight Howard. Also, he is not much of rebounder for a seven footer, which is disappointing.
There is also much concern about Motiejunas when it comes to the mental side of the game. Scouts remark that it is very worrying that at such a young age, Motiejunas often looks disinterested in playing defense. Many have also questioned his motivation or what is perceived to be a lack of emotion.
Cause for Concern?: On 5/12/11, at Adidas Eurocamp, Donatas had an absolutely disastrous showing. Motiejunas looked disinterested, and at one point went 4/17 while taking uncontested three point shots. This was a small sample size, and he has proven before that he can shoot, but this may be cause for concern as shooting is his main asset. Time will tell if this will affect his draft stock, it was probably just a bad day, but he looked quite awful.
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Judging the Fit: The Knicks need big men, and Motiejunas is a big man with much upside. His inside/outside game would fit very well in the Knicks’ offense. Additionally, he is very adept at running the floor and participating in pick-and-roll action, 2 things the Knicks’ offense features a lot. Motiejunas is also a solid passer, which is needed in order to spread out the offense that Coach D’Antoni runs.
However, the Knicks need players that will be able to make an impact right away. It is believed that the young Motiejunas will take a couple of years to adjust to the NBA level. Also, the Knicks need a banger down low that can block shots and rebound, Motiejunas is not this.
The Verdict: I think there is an extremely small chance the Knicks will take Donatas, as they need more of a defensive minded center, which Motiejunas is not. He does have potential to be an NBA starter, but he is not physically ready yet. He would not be an impact player upon being drafted, which the Knicks need. The Knicks need a big man who would be able to come in and play solid lock down defense upon being drafted. I think he will follow in the footsteps of fellow European player Andrea Bargnani, who has a nice jump shot, but plays lackadaisical defense.