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Houston Rockets Year End Review: Donatas Motiejunas

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Dec 20, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas (20) before a game against the Atlanta Hawks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Rockets Year End Player Review: Who Is “D-Mo”?

Look I’ll be honest with you, never in this lifetime did I think that I’d be writing a positive article about Donatas Motiejunas. I can recall the very first time I watched the Lithuanian giant play; before the tip a buddy of mine whom I was watching the game with kept raving about this lefty 7-foot, overseas, post man the Rockets drafted. He went on and on about his post moves, his 3-point range and how he was going to be a star in this league in about 4 to 5 years. I was intrigued… a 7 footer with post moves, a stroke from deep and he was a lefty?! I’ve got to see this.

He checks in the game to give Dwight Howard a breather and Bill Worrell a man I respect to the highest degree announces “ Here comes D-Mo!”  I’m thinking in my head, man Bill Worrell, the never aging man with the greatest voice the television audience will ever hear has already given this kid a nickname…what have I been missing out on!?

The very first offensive play he camps out in the right corner for James Harden to create, his man helps off the drive, noticing this Harden delivers a crisp pass right into D-Mo’s shooting pocket, my buddy yells: “ He’s cashing that one out!” before he even releases it. Far left… bank was closed. First shot of the game right off the bench, not a big deal, let’s let him get his blood flowing.

As the game goes on I’m eying D-Mo like a hawk, paying attention to everything he does on the court in hopes of catching a glimpse of all the hype he was getting from my buddy and I must say…. that night was the second most disappointing night of my life (the first being when Popeyes raised their price on the Tuesday Special from .99 to 1.29…tragic). The guy seemed absolutely clueless on both ends of the court, re-built the Great Wall of China with all the bricks he was throwing up and lastly couldn’t play a lick of defense!

I turned to my buddy and said “ Look man… I’m going to hold off on calling this guy D-Mo and start calling him “D” for 3 reasons. First of all, you can’t have a nickname when you’re averaging less than 10 minutes per game and playing like you have no idea what’s going on. It just doesn’t work like that. Secondly, D-Mo is actually a pretty sweet nick name and should belong to a guy averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds and 1 technical a game. Lastly, “D” just sounds like the name of the dude in your circle of friends that’s constantly messing up”.

The season went on with unfortunately no signs of improvement. I began to lose sleep stressing out over why this confused Abercrombie Fitch male model, basketball player insisted on shooting every time he caught the ball on the perimeter. By now you can tell my disliking of “D” was with passion and it ran deep.

Fast forward to the 2014-2015 season, news broke out that the Rockets would be without Howard for an extended period of time due to a knee injury and that “D” would be replacing him. I felt defeated … Why me? What have I done to deserve this? Without Howard whose going to protect the rim? Whose going to be our second option once Harden hits the bench? My head was filled with doubts, there was no way that we were going to keep up with the rest of the West with “D” being Howard’s replacement!

Boy was I wrong. What I saw on November 26, 2014 changed my life in ways I didn’t deem possible.

Next: The Dawn Of A New Era