Rockets News

Donatas Motiejunas is Houston bound. Can he be the face of the Rockets franchise?


After winning a championship in the Polish Basketball League it looks like D-Mo is taking his talents to Clutch City.

“I was trying to improve every day something,” Motiejunas said. “I want to be a perfect player. That’s a lot of work and a lot of effort, but we will see. Hopefully I will be one of the best players.”

Motiejunas is a 7’0 240 pound power forward/center from Lithuania. He was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the 20th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft but was traded to the Rockets along with point guard Jonny Flynn for center Brad Miller and Nikola Mirotic who was the 23rd pick in the 2011 draft.

Donatas decided to stay in Poland for one more season after the NBA had the ever so famous lockout. In the Polish league, he averaged 15.7 points and 6.6 rebounds in 26.5 minutes a game. He had a stellar night in the game 7 win that clinched his team the title, scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in Prokom’s 76-68 win.

“I was going to win the championship,” Motiejunas said. “I was going on to the court thinking I was going to win the championship and if not I was going to go out giving everything that I’ve got. Those kind of games, they help you a lot. I think the most important thing, win or lose, one shot can be decisive. Getting experience is a precious thing. These kind of victories help you to grow up as a player, and I’m really happy that this time we win.”

The Rockets received great news from the NBA last week that Motiejunas will be able to sign a NBA contract as soon as July 1st, rather than when the moratorium period ends July 11th. Which will allow Motiejunas to get his clearance from FIBA in time to play for Houston’s summer league team that begins July 13th.

“The best for Donatas’s development is to have him working with our coaches this summer,” GM Daryl Morey said. “Donatas improved all aspects of his game but made the most significant leap forward in rebounding.”

Motiejunas is one of those players that can do it all. He can shoot the three, has a post up game with an incredible hook shot that’s virtually automatic, great jump shooter, can slash to the basket, nice athletic ability, big time dunker and plays decent defense while altering shots with his 7’0 height and huge wingspan.

Can he fill the void left by Yao Ming who was forced to retire due to leg injuries? It may be to early to say, but the guy has a ton of talent and a huge upside. A guy with his talent can only get better with more experience. It also helps that his coach will be Hall of Famer Kevin McHale who had one of the greatest post games in NBA history and was a shut down defender, not to mention a great rebounder as well. Maybe Motiejunas could give Hakeem Olajuwon a call and ask for some pointers. Anything that Olajuwon can drill into a young athletes mind is pure gold.

Donatas Motiejunas highlights