One of the top European prospects in the 2011 NBA Draft can't find the time to squeeze in workouts for NBA teams.
Donatas Motiejunas, an offensive-minded, versatile forward from Lithuania, will reportedly be so occupied over the next three weeks in the run up to the Draft, which will be held June 23, that he won't be able to visit and meet with individual NBA teams in their home cities.
The Racine Journal-Times reports that Motiejunas has a good excuse: he will be busy playing for his club team in Europe and then participating in a European scouting combine.
Motiejunas, a 6-foot-11 power forward, is playing for Benetton Treviso in the Italian League. Benetton has advanced to the semifinals of the Series A League. After the playoffs, Motiejunas plans to attend the adidas EuroCamp June 11-13.Motiejunas is clearly in the top tier of international talent that includes Enes Kanter, Bismack Biyombo, Jan Vesely and Jonas Valanciunas that has established itself as likely lottery picks.
As such, Herb Rudoy, Motiejunas' agent, said his client won't be able to work out for any NBA teams before the draft. "It's not that he doesn't want to; he just can't," Rudoy said. Rudoy also said he is in the process of setting up a physical for Motiejunas with an NBA team and then having the results forwarded to other teams interested in Motiejunas.
A native of Kaunas, Lithuania, Motiejunas is regarded as one of the more skilled big men in the draft. Some NBA officials project him to be selected anywhere from 6 to 14.
The million dollar question is whether not holding workouts will affect his draft stock. While there's always the possibility that wowing scouts at a private workout gets them to fall in love with you, Motiejunas won't be doing himself too much harm by remaining abroad through the process.
First, Motiejunas, 20, is a top five international prospect in this year's field and has been on the NBA radar for multiple years. He's a prospect that stands out immediately -- especially at a young age -- because of his height, length, overall offensive skill level and the fact that he's left-handed. He was the headliner of the 2009 international team at the Nike Hoop Summit, competed in the major European youth tournaments and has played for two seasons in the Italian league. Scouts know him and know him well.
Second, it's not like he's hiding. Not only is he playing in competitive play right now, he will be attending a major scouting showcase along with other top prospects this month. Adidas touts its Eurocamp as "the premier international basketball pre-draft camp" and notes that Biyombo will also be in attendance, as will Davis Bertans and Lucas Nogueira, two other possible first round picks. A clear picture of his basketball talents, if not clear, will emerge over the next few weeks.
Third, the relatively weak nature of the top half of the first round plays to Motiejunas' advantage here. If this class was stocked with elite athletes jumping out of the gym in private workouts or even if it was simply loaded with serviceable seven footers, there would be more pressure on him to prove himself. As it stands, there isn't a single American-born seven-footer projected to go in the first round. With such limited supply, Motiejunas, despite the finesse nature of his game, figures to be in high demand.