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Pacers' Draft Possibilities: Donatas Motiejunas

With the Draft Lottery complete, the Early Entry List set, and the NBA Draft fast approaching, it's time to examine more in depth some of the players who could be available for the Pacers. Over the next few weeks I'll be trying to put together as many profiles as possible. Instead of identifying players as specific targets for either Pacers' pick, I'm just going to cover a pool of players I think are possibilities. You'll find some players who the Pacers would likely have to trade up or down for. I've also expressed my opinion that the Pacers need to be focused on talent as much as fit so players at all five positions will be included.

These profiles are not intended to advocate for one player over another, just examine their strengths and weaknesses, and discuss in some detail what they have to offer. For each profile I provided Ten Important Statistics to guide the discussion. Today we'll be looking at:

Donatas Motiejunas - PF/C - 7'0"  215 lbs. - Benetton Treviso (Italian A League)

Ten Important Stats - Donatas Motiejunas





















Current DraftExpress Projection: Round 1, Pick #17


  • High skill level on offense, very effective post-scorer, solid jumpshooter with three-point range, can face up and beat his man off the dribble
  • Solid length and athleticism, uses his speed to beat his man down the floor for easy offense opportunities


  • Still needs to add quite a bit of strength
  • Really struggles defensively, has excellent physical tools, but shows inconsistent effort and focus
  • A very poor rebounder considering his size and athleticism, doesn't box out consistently or pursue the ball aggressively


Like many other European draft prospects, expectations and situation will likely play a huge role in how his NBA career pans out. If Motiejunas gets picked too high (like Milicic and Bargnani clearly were) and is put under a great deal of pressure and scrutiny, he may struggle in the early going. The type of coach that is working with him will also be key—he'll likely need some freedom to operate offensively, and a patient, supportive approach to his struggles defensively and on the glass.

- Jonathan Givony,

How he can help the Pacers:

Motiejunas is an incredibly potent and versatile offensive player, something the Pacers were missing at times last season. He has the potential to be a go-to scorer, and can get his points in a variety of ways. However, the questions about his rebounding and defensive abilities should temper some of the Pacers’ enthusiasm. From a distance it’s tough to imagine him being able to play alongside Roy Hibbert, given that they both struggle in the same areas. This makes his long term fit with the Pacers difficult to project. In the short-term he could play back-up minutes at power forward and center next season, giving the second-unit an offensive focal point and providing some scoring punch off the bench. In terms of developing his potential, Frank Vogel seems like he would have the right combination of tough and gentle to bring Motiejunas along. It’s also hard to imagine two better players than Jeff Foster and Tyler Hansbrough, to help mentor him into playing with maximum energy and effort on both ends of the floor.


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