by Maurice Bobb / @ReeseReport
When you go on a magical Playoff run and win an NBA championship like we just did, it’s all about celebrations: parties with the Larry O’Brien on South Beach with rogue Miami Heatles in Club Liv; award media tours on shows like ESPN’s PTI; reading the Top 10 List on David Letterman; parades on the owner’s dime; and even drunken bouts of public intoxication in tees emblazoned with subtle messages like “How’s My Dirk Taste?”
But after the confetti settles and the last of the “fans” have gone back to their menial existences, it’s time to get back to basketball business, not the least of which is getting better as a team to compete with all the teams that are now on your arse to knock you off the mountaintop. But like Jay and ‘Ye said, Watch the Throne, because we’re makin’ moves, power moves that is.
First order of business? Coming up roses with our late first-round pick. Yeah, we know, this draft is the equivalent of finding a pet rock on the gravely road behind your grandmother’s house in the country, but hey, stranger things have happened, right? Manu Ginobili was drafted 57th overall in 1999, Monta Ellis 40th overall in ‘05, Carlos Boozer 35th overall in ’02 and Gibert Arenas—pre-Onyx throw ya guns in the air—was one helluva steal at 31st overall in ’01.
At this point, all of the front-runners are wearing their spankin’ new team fitteds, but Cubes, Donnie Nelson and our draft “experts” have been mining draft analysis reports, watching pre-draft workouts and crunching stats while eating ungodly amounts of Weiner Schnitzel and we’ve come to this:
With the 26th pick of the 2011 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Dallas Mavs select…
Donatas Motiejunas of Benetton Treviso (Italy) by way of Lithuania.
Sorry Josh Selby, we thought long and hard about taking you off the board with this pick, but when an athletic, potential mismatch-scoring 7-footer falls in your lap like this, you take him every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
The knock on this kid is that he stays away from contact and has deficiencies as a defender, rebounder and competitor. But let’s be honest, you won’t find a kid coming out of college this year that doesn’t have these kinds of flaws.
What we like about this smooth-shooting lefty is his mix of size, length and agility. Standing 7 feet and weighing in at 222 pounds, this forward/center runs the floor well, has excellent hands around the basket and has a very effective pick-and-pop game. Jason Kidd and JJ Barea will make this kid shine like new money. We can just hear Mike Breen call this kid’s feathery shot as it falls now, “Bang!”
Then there’s his lethal face-up game and ability to take cats to the rack off the dribble. Remember, I just said this kid is a 7-footer. How many 7-footers outside of our own Dirk Nowitzki do you know that can cross you and drop a J in your grill? And he’ll only get better going at it with The German in practice.
Analysts say Motiejunas underwhelmed at the adidas Eurocamp when he was Sir Brick-A-Lot, but word has it that his subpar shooting came on the heels of an intense weight lifting session. He faired much better in a later workout albeit with a much smaller audience. Plus, while playing with Benetton Treviso, Italy’s top division, he averaged 12.4 ppg on 58% field goal shooting while playing 23 minutes per. We all know individual workouts pale in comparison to actual competition, right?
With Nowitzki and Brian “The White Debo” Cardinal getting older and Brendan Haywood having the offensive acumen of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Sandy Lyle character from “Along Came Polly,” we can use this kind of scoring punch from a big coming off the pine.
And hey, how often do you get a chance as an NBA franchise to out-Euro the San Antonio Spurs?
Motiejunas is a long shot, as is any pick outside of the lottery, but with a little time and guidance, he may end up being a steal of felonious proportions.
|2011 SLAMonline Mock Draft|
|1||Cavs||Kyrie Irving||16||76ers||Markieff Morris|
|2||TWolves||Derrick Williams||17||Knicks||Nikola Vucevic|
|3||Jazz||Brandon Knight||18||Wizards||Jordan Hamilton|
|4||Cavs||Enes Kanter||19||Bobcats||Marshon Brooks|
|5||Raptors||Bismack Biyombo||20||TWolves||Klay Thompson|
|6||Wizards||Jan Vesely||21||Blazers||Darius Morris|
|7||Kings||Kemba Walker||22||Nuggets||Kenneth Faried|
|8||Pistons||Kawhi Leonard||23||Rockets||Reggie Jackson|
|9||Bobcats||Jonas Valanciunas||24||Thunder||Justin Harper|
|10||Bucks||Alec Burks||25||Celtics||JaJuan Johnson|
|11||Warriors||Marcus Morris||26||Mavs||Donatas Motiejunas|