New Orleans Pelicans Officially Sign Donatas Motiejunas
The New Orleans Pelicans made the signing of free agent forward Donatas Motiejunas official, shoring up some issues in the team’s frontcourt.
Donatas Motiejunas is officially a New Orleans Pelicans player!
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— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 3, 2017
The news of Donatas’ signing to the Pelicans is a welcome one. After some problems negotiating a deal with his former team in the Houston Rockets, Motiejunas became a free agent. Deciding to try and earn himself some extra cash in the next offseason, Donatas came to New Orleans to show his stuff.
It’s a welcome sign for the Pelicans, who have been trying to find a big man, to properly compliment superstar Anthony Davis.
New Orleans has recently went with Davis at center position in the starting lineup. While it has greatly helped the offense, the defense is another question. It also has come with struggles against teams with true centers. Donatas may be the cure for that.
Motiejunas has been injured of late, so it’s tough to tell what he will bring right off the bat. Still, when he’s ready to play, he can be a fantastic player.
Donatas averaged 12 points per game and six rebounds a game, just two years ago for the Rockets. Last year, he dealt with a plethora of injuries, keeping him off the floor and away from meaningful minutes all year.
The 7’0″ big can be a lethal force in the paint, especially on the offensive glass. Over the past three seasons, Motiejunas has averaged at least one offensive rebound per game in each year. He also averaged over 43% shooting in each of his four NBA campaigns, including over 50% two years ago.
The real question becomes what he can actually do, when he gets on the floor. Due to his injuries, there are questions to how effective he’ll be. He’s also a slower big, something that has not translated well in Alvin Gentry‘s up-tempo system.
Motiejunas can run and shoot a bit outside the paint, something fans are excited for. He can also drive the ball, when needed. However, he’s also a decent post-up big, who will look for those opportunities. It will be a learning experience for him in Gentry’s brand of basketball.
Still, his ability to space the floor and his strong defensive game have created excitement for the prospect of him next to Anthony Davis. If he can stay healthy and figure out his groove on both ends, the combo of him and AD could be lethal to opposing teams.
With hopes set on a playoff push, the New Orleans Pelicans went out and got a low-risk, high-reward big in Donatas Motiejunas. It will be hard to see him re-signing with the Pels this upcoming offseason. He will have plenty of interest from other teams and will expect some big money. Still, he will be in New Orleans for the next three months. Time to welcome in the new big man and get excited for what he can do for the Pelicans, as they continue to try and rise up the Western Conference Standings.
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