The Rockets and Donatas Motieunas have been attempting to come to terms on a deal that will keep him in Houston this season. However, I’m not confident that he is a part of their long-term plans for the future.
As recent as the trade deadline, the Rockets attempted to unload Motiejunas to the Pistons along with Marcus Thornton for a first-round draft pick,but the trade was voided due to his inability to pass the physical. In my opinion, this is a loaded statement as well as an indicator of the teams intentions for Motiejunas as of last season. First of all, I would really like to know what has changed their opinion over the last few months.
At first glance, it appears that the Rockets have moved Ryan Anderson into the position that they long hoped that he would fill and changed the offense to a scheme that may not fit his skills. Secondly, I am concerned about his health. Has he truly returned to form since his failed physical? After all, he has missed significant time including the run to the western conference finals two years ago. Apparently, the Rockets are confident that this is the case because they have tendered an offer and reserve the right to match any offer from another team.
With this being said, Motiejunas definitely has the intangibles that would make him attractive to other teams. He is 7 ft tall with a nice post game and has moderate success when shooting from deep. His value is undeniable. I’m just not sure that he is an ideal fit in Mike D’Antoni’s uptempo offense.
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He has problems catching passes while cutting to the basket, which will definitely be part of the game plan. D-Mo is also a bit of a ball-stopper while in the post and has what I would call limited ball-handling capabilities. Admittedly, Motiejunas does pass well out of the post, but only time will tell if this outweighs the aforementioned deficiencies.
Personally, I feel that Montrezl Harrell or Michael Beasley would be better back-ups for Ryan Anderson. They are both extremely athletic and finish with authority around the basket. Either one would be a change of pace and burst of energy coming off the bench, which is often invaluable for teams that are in the playoff hunt.
Maybe Daryl Morey intends to play Motiejunas in the back-up center role. He does have the size and this may be a better role for him if he is indeed retained by the Rockets. However, the signing of Nene Hilario makes this theory a bit far fetched as well. It seems that Hilario would most certainly be the back-up center, but stranger things have happened.
Overall, the Rockets appear to be gathering assets as they have for several seasons now. Perhaps Daryl Morey is attempting to sign Motiejunas only to include him in a trade down the line. The problem with this strategy is that it has failed to yield us a cohesive roster, which is undoubtedly the goal at hand. Hopefully, things will pan out before the season starts, but I am definitely skeptical that this will be the outcome. Do you think that D-mo will play a significant role in Houston next season?