Oct 1, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas (20) poses for a portrait during media day at the House of Blues. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Development of Donatas Motiejunas

Many barriers have stood in Donatas Motiejunas‘ way, but one thing has remained constant and that is his drive to becoming a good NBA player. The payoff seems to have finally came and all those summers of hard work and practice are finally beginning to show.

At 7’1, there are not too many big man in the NBA anymore that have the skill set that Motiejunas has. A legit back to the basket game that is not only effective, but quite refreshing to see as well. Seeing Motiejunas play in this year’s Summer League, it is easy to get excited.

Last year when 3rd year power forward Terrence Jones was featured in the Summer League for the Houston Rockets, he led the team to the championship game. With the strides that Jones took coming into the 2013-2014 NBA season it is hard not see Motiejunas make that same jump.

Jones went from a player who was in and out the D-League to starting on a team that won 54 games in the Western Conference and a 4th seed. Motiejunas and Isaiah Canaan have been the clear cut veterans on this team, and watching the games you can see they are clearly the better players.

Most people say “it’s just Summer League, do not overreact” but seeing D-Mo looking comfortable and more importantly taking on a leadership role, it has been fun to watch.

The NBA is a different league, played at a higher level, with better players and brighter lights. Motiejunas’ play must translate from the Summer League to the NBA floor this season, and it has to be consistent in order to have faith in him.

Taking lessons from Hakeem Olajuwon does not hurt either, but seeing Donatas develop right in front of our eyes is something to behold.

Once again, I am aware of the Summer League factor and competition, but this D-Mo that I am praising is not because of his scoring ability, rather it’s his leadership on the floor and his attitude towards the game and during the game that has intrigued me so far.

Let’s see if he could finish off this year’s Summer League with a championship tonight!

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