Big man Motiejunas works out solo for Sixers


Monday, June 20, 2011
Posted: 3:01 p.m.
By Ryan Contributor

Donatas Motiejunas wants to let his game do the talking.

Thats the reason Sixers director of player personnel Courtney Witte gave for Motiejunas' not speaking with the media after Mondays draft workout at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

This is a workout where he wanted to let his game do the talking, Witte said. His English is good. Hes really an intense, focused guy. It was nothing against anything here.

Motiejunas, a 7-foot, 240-pound Lithuanian power forward, participated in a solo workout with the Sixers, one of just four teams he will have worked out for in the U.S. He was in Houston on Friday and San Antonio on Saturday and has one more workout with the Knicks on Tuesday.

Obviously it would be better if we could work Motiejunas out with other guys out here, but you take what you can, Witte said. We felt very privileged to actually have the chance to bring him in under the one-on-none circumstance.

This isnt the first time the Sixers have met with Motiejunas and watched him work out. The Sixers brass was in Treviso, Italy, last week for the Adidas Eurocamp, where they were able to sit down with Motiejunas and watch him in a private workout.

Hes a fun-loving guy but hes intense, Witte said. We met with him last week in Treviso. We watched him at another workout outside of the camp. We felt very comfortable sitting down with him for a good length of time over there. To bring him in here today was an added bonus.

Motiejunas is a skilled big man with four years of professional basketball experience. He has played in Italy with Benetton Treviso and in the Euroleague, the best league in Europe. He averaged 13.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game this season while shooting 53.1 percent from the field in the Italian Legabasket Serie A. With his same Benetton Treviso team this season against tougher competition in the ULEB Eurocup, he averaged 10.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game while shooting 44.1 percent from the field.

The 20-year-old is a skilled big man who has the ability to score in creative ways in the post. But he isnt just a post player. He can also run the floor exceptionally well, can handle the ball like a wing, and can knock down outside jumpers. The lefty shot 43.9 percent on three-point attempts this season is the Italian Legabasket Serie A.

Hes got a big skill package, Witte said. Hes got NBA athleticism. Hes got NBA creativity. He has lived on his own, hes been in Italy, so hes very accustomed to being on his own and working on his game.

Motiejunas isnt a new name to NBA teams at all. He had 21 points and eight rebounds in the 2009 Nike Hoop Summit and considered coming to the NBA that year. After opting against the NBA in 2009, he entered his name in the 2010 NBA draft before withdrawing prior to the deadline.

Were confident where we are as a staff, Witte said, but its still ongoing. Its exciting. Each hour it comes down to the end and we learn more about whats going on in our range.

The Rockets could be targeting Motiejunas with the No. 14 pick, so he may not even be an option at No. 16.

If the Sixers are confident that the Rockets want Motiejunas at No. 14, would they consider trading up to secure him with an earlier pick?

No comment, Witte said when asked that exact question.

A lot can happen on Thursday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Motiejunas appears to be one of the Sixers top targets. Whether or not hes the guy whose name is called by David Stern when the Sixers are on the clock remains to be seen.

Ryan Feldman covers college basketball and the NBA Draft for his website, He can be reached at

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