Donatas Motiejunas is not only one of the most promising players in the whole of Europe, but in the whole world and the FIBA World Championships in Turkey will be a perfect stage for the 19-year-old originally from Kaunas to shine.
After moving to play his club basketball at Benetton Treviso, his performances were closely followed by the media and the fans.
To the surprise of many, the versatile big man decided to pull out of this year’s NBA draft despite being seen as a lottery pick.
The main reason – his expectations are just a bit higher. Motiejunas will try to raise his stock with an even better season with Benetton and, of course, a successful debut on the International stage at the senior level.
Despite making the squad mainly because players such as Ksistof Lavrinovic and Marijonas Petravicius couldn’t make it, ‘Moti’ will be there to make an impact and not to keep the bench warm and watch his team-mates play.
With unbelievable ball handling skills for a big man, great quickness and speed - he could literally play three different positions being 213 cm tall.
The probabilities are that he will play high since there are better options at the three than Motiejunas, who is way more effective playing in the front-court.
However, he does have the ability to drive to the basket like not many others can and his overall game resembles the one of Germany’s star Dirk Nowitzki.
Motiejunas, however, still has a long way to go before he hits what would be his ceiling and he needs to start off by adding a bit of strength, which could eliminate his weaknesses – rebounding, defence and some other minor issues. You could say, he’s still a kid at 19, but he has played with men for over two years now and has done fairly well.
If not in Turkey, Motiejunas will still develop into one of Europe’s elite big men and will have to lead the Lithuanian National Team to victories, when the current generation of players steps aside.