Donatas Motiejūnas

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Donatas Motiejūnas
Donatas Motiejunas.jpg
Motiejūnas with the Houston Rockets in October 2013
No. 20 – Houston Rockets
Position Power forward / Center
League NBA
Personal information
Born (1990-09-20) September 20, 1990 (age 25)
Kaunas, Lithuania
Nationality Lithuanian
Listed height 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)
Listed weight 255 lb (116 kg)
Career information
NBA draft 2011 / Round: 1 / Pick: 20th overall
Selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves
Pro career 2005–present
Career history
2005–2007 Žalgiris-Arvydas
2007–2008 Žalgiris Kaunas
2007–2008 →Žalgiris-Arvydas
2008–2009 Aisčiai Kaunas
2009–2012 Benetton Treviso
2011–2012 Asseco Prokom
2012–present Houston Rockets
2012–2013 Rio Grande Valley Vipers
Career highlights and awards
Stats at
Stats at

Donatas Motiejūnas (Lithuanian pronunciation: ​[d̪ɔˈn̪äːt̪ɐs̪ moːtʲiəˈjûːn̪ɐs̪]; born September 20, 1990) is a Lithuanian professional basketball player who currently plays for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was drafted 20th overall in the 2011 NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves[1] before going on to win the 2012 Polish Basketball League championship with Asseco Prokom Gdynia.

European career[edit]

Lithuania (2005–2009)[edit]

Motiejūnas (front) with Benetton Treviso in 2011.

In 2005, Motiejūnas began his career playing with Žalgiris Kaunas' junior team, Žalgiris-Arvydas Sabonis school, who play in the Lithuanian National Basketball League. In 2007–08, he made his debut for the senior team in a Baltic League game against the ASK Riga. He scored 15 points in 22 minutes.[2][3]

In 2008, Motiejūnas signed with Aisčiai Kaunas for the 2008–09 season where he went on to average 19.9 points and 7.0 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per game, and he scored a season-high 29 points in a Lithuanian League game against Nevėžis on March 22, 2009.[4]

Italy (2009–2011)[edit]

In August 2009, Motiejūnas signed a multi-year deal with Benetton Treviso of the Lega Basket Serie A.[5] In 33 league games in 2009–10, he averaged 9.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.[3]

In April 2010, Motiejūnas declared for the 2010 NBA draft, but later withdrew and returned to Benetton.[6][7] He went on to win the 2011 Eurocup Rising Star award after helping Benetton reach the Eurocup 2010–11 Final Four, averaging 10.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.[3][8]

Poland (2011–2012)[edit]

On June 23, 2011, Motiejūnas was selected with the 20th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves.[1] The next day, his rights were traded, along with Jonny Flynn, to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Brad Miller and the draft rights to the 23rd overall pick, Nikola Mirotić.[9] Due to the NBA lockout, Motiejūnas returned to Europe.

On September 22, 2011, Benetton loaned Motiejūnas to Asseco Prokom of Poland for the 2011–12 season.[10][11] On December 7, 2011, he recorded a career-high 21 rebounds (18 defensive) against Union Olimpija, the most defensive rebounds in a Euroleague game in the Euroleague Basketball era (2000–01 season onwards).[12] He also helped lead Asseco Prokom to a ninth consecutive PLK title in 2012. During the seventh and final game of the PLK Finals, he recorded 23 points and 11 rebounds.[13]

NBA career[edit]

Houston Rockets (2012–present)[edit]

2012–13 season[edit]

Motiejūnas defending Jeff Withey in October 2013

On July 6, 2012, Motiejūnas signed four-year, rookie scale contract with the Houston Rockets[14] and joined them for the 2012 NBA Summer League. In his summer league debut, he recorded 25 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 block.[15] After the game, he quoted a famous Lithuanian idiom describing his debut: "Jeigu bijai vilko – neik į mišką" (English: If you're scared of wolves, don't go into the woods).[16] Overall, he averaged 16.3 points and 7.8 rebounds in four games.[17]

On November 14, 2012, Motiejūnas was assigned to Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League.[18] In his D-League debut on November 23, he recorded 31 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steals. Two days later, he was recalled by the Rockets.[19] He was later reassigned two more times throughout the season and in seven D-League games, he averaged 20.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.[20] In 44 games for the Rockets, he averaged 5.7 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.

2013–14 season[edit]

On October 30, 2013, the Rockets exercised their third-year team option on Motiejūnas' rookie scale contract, extending the contract through the 2014–15 season.[21] As a result of a disappointing start to the 2013–14 season with little playing time, Motiejūnas said: “When you give everything you got, you want to get something back and we are not getting for a long time. It’s really not easy to just sit and watch when others are playing. I try to stay positive. I try to help the team. I try to be productive in practices. That’s all I can do. That’s all that is in my power and other things are not in my power so I can not be worried about those things.”[22] He went on to play 62 games for the Rockets while averaging 5.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

2014–15 season[edit]

In August 2014, Motiejūnas came under fire for comments made about his Rocket teammates James Harden and Dwight Howard, describing their relationship as "Hi & bye. They even eat separately from the team. Usually in some fast food place." The comments came in an interview with Lithuanian media.[23] It was later revealed that Motiejūnas was misquoted in his comments due to an incorrect translation by Lithuanian media from Lithuanian to English.[24]

On October 30, 2014, the Rockets exercised their fourth-year team option on Motiejūnas' rookie scale contract, extending the contract through the 2015–16 season.[25] With Dwight Howard out for a string of 11 games during November and December, and Terrence Jones out for the majority of the first half of the season, Motiejūnas began to dominate in shaping a career-best season as he averaged 14.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game in Howard's 11-game absence.[26] Then, even with Howard's return on December 13, Motiejūnas scored a then career-high 25 points on 11-of-19 shooting to help the Rockets defeat the Denver Nuggets, 108-96.[27]

On January 30, 2015, Motiejūnas scored a career-high 26 points in a 93-87 win over the Boston Celtics.[28] On March 27, he was ruled out for one to two weeks with lower back pain and tightness.[29] However, the injury later ruled him out for the rest of the season[30] and put his changes of playing for the Lithuanian national team in doubt.[31]

In his third NBA season, Motiejūnas led the league in accurate shots made (53.4%), with his biggest competitor being fellow Lithuanian Jonas Valančiūnas of the Toronto Raptors (51.3%).[32] In recognition, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle awarded Motiejūnas an "A" grade for his 2014–15 season performance.[33]

Career statistics[edit]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  PIR  Performance Index Rating
 Bold  Career high

Note: The Euroleague is not the only competition in which the player participated for the team during the season, he also played in domestic competition.


2007–08 Žalgiris Kaunas 3 0 7.2 .200 .000 1.000 2.7 .0 .0 .0 1.3 1.3
2011–12 Asseco Prokom 10 10 31.3 .436 .304 .455 7.9 .9 .6 .8 12.5 13.7
Career 13 10 25.7 .426 .292 .486 6.7 .7 .5 .6 9.9 10.8


Regular season[edit]

2012–13 Houston 44 14 12.2 .455 .289 .627 2.1 .7 .2 .2 5.7
2013–14 Houston 62 3 15.4 .443 .250 .604 3.6 .5 .3 .3 5.5
2014–15 Houston 71 62 28.7 .504 .368 .602 5.9 1.8 .8 .5 12.0
Career 177 79 19.9 .481 .313 .607 4.2 1.1 .5 .4 8.2


2013 Houston 1 0 5.0 1.000 .000 1.000 1.0 .0 .0 .0 5.0
Career 1 0 5.0 1.000 .000 1.000 1.0 .0 .0 .0 5.0

International career[edit]

Motiejūnas was a part of the Lithuanian Under-16, Under-18 and Under-20 junior national teams. With Lithuania's junior national teams, he played at the 2006 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship, both the 2007 and 2008 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championships, the 2009 FIBA Under-19 World Championship, and the 2009 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship.

Motiejūnas led Lithuania's junior national team to the silver medal at the 2008 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship. Despite losing to Greece's junior national team in the gold medal game, he was named the MVP of the tournament, after averaging 18.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.[34] At the 2008 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship, he averaged 11.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.[35]

In 2013, Motiejūnas won a silver medal with Lithuania's national team at the FIBA EuroBasket tournament and went on compete for the national team at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, where he averaged 7.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in nine games.[36]

In June 2015, Motiejūnas ruled himself out of the 2015 FIBA EuroBasket to continue recovering from a back injury he sustained while playing for the Houston Rockets.[37]


Motiejūnas has a large tattoo on his chest of an eagle clutching a basketball. He explained, "I really like the attitudes of eagles. They never give up. When they grab a fish or something else, they never let it go."[38][39]


  1. ^ a b 2011 NBA Draft Results: Donatas Motiejunas Drafted By Timberwolves With No. 20 Pick
  2. ^ Donatas Motiejūnas – (Lithuanian)
  3. ^ a b c MOTIEJUNAS, DONATAS –
  4. ^ Donato Motiejūno sezono statistika (Lithuanian)
  5. ^ Another great signing by Benetton: Donatas Motiejunas
  6. ^ Donatas Motiejunas has entered in NBA draft
  7. ^ Motiejunas out of NBA draft, back to Benetton
  8. ^ 2010-11 Eurocup Rising Star Trophy winner: Donatas Motiejunas, Benetton Bwin
  9. ^ Rockets acquire guard Jonny Flynn
  10. ^ Benetton Treviso loans Motiejunas to Prokom and signs Scalabrine
  11. ^ Asseco Prokom lands Eurocup Rising Star Motiejunas
  12. ^ Eurolygos rekordą pagerinęs Motiejūnas atvedė „Asseco Prokom“ į pirmą pergalę (video, statistika) (Lithuanian)
  13. ^ Motiejūnas atvedė „Asseco Prokom“ iki Lenkijos čempionų titulo (Lithuanian)
  14. ^ Rockets sign center Motiejunas to multiyear deal
  15. ^ Summer League Diary Day One: Rockets vs. Raptors
  16. ^ A Wolf Among Wolves; Donatas Motiejunas shines in his summer league debut
  17. ^ 2012 Summer League Statistics – Donatas Motiejunas
  18. ^ Rockets Launched: Houston Assigns Machado, Motiejunas to NBA D-League Affiliate Rio Grande Valley Vipers
  19. ^ Houston Rockets recall Donatas Motiejunas from D-League
  20. ^ Rockets recall Donatas Motiejunas from D-League again
  21. ^ Rockets pick up options on Motiejunas, Jones
  22. ^ Frustrated Motiejunas just wants to play
  23. ^ Rockets' Motiejunas misquoted about Harden, Howard not eating with team
  24. ^ Donatas Motiejunas sets record straight on Howard, Harden comments
  25. ^ Rockets pick up fourth-year options on Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas
  26. ^ Donatas Motiejunas 2014-15 Game Log
  27. ^ Howard, Harden lead Rockets over Nuggets, 108-96
  28. ^ Motiejunas scores 26, Rockets top Celtics for 4th win in row
  29. ^ Rockets PF Donatas Motiejunas sidelined for 1-2 weeks with back pain
  30. ^ Houston Rockets lose Donatas Motiejunas for season with back injury
  31. ^ D.Motiejūno žaidimas Lietuvos rinktinėje pakibo ant plauko? (Lithuanian)
  32. ^ Paaiškėjo statistinis rodiklis, pagal kurį abu lietuviai NBA neturėjo lygių (Lithuanian)
  33. ^ Feigen, Jonathan (28 May 2015). "Rockets report card: Grading the 2014-15 roster". Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  35. ^ Donatas Motiejunas's profile –
  36. ^ 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup – Donatas MOTIEJUNAS
  37. ^ Donatas Motiejunas says he will not play at Eurobasket 2015
  38. ^ Rockets Assign Duo to NBA D-League
  39. ^ Donatas Motiejūnas Houston Rockets Talk

External links[edit]