2011 NBA Mock Draft: Donatas Motiejunas Could Be Next Mark Eaton for Utah Jazz
The 2011 NBA Draft is all about finding that special player who can take your team to the elite stages of the NBA. Some need to replace one recently departed player, whether they left through free agency or a trade, while others are looking for someone who could replace a player from long ago.
The Utah Jazz have been looking for a seven footer who can score since the days of Mark Eaton. They may finally be able to find that in Donatas Motiejunas of Lithuania. He could certainly add some more instant offense to an already impressive frontcourt.
Utah acquired Derrick Favors in the Deron Williams trade, so they do not need a strong power forward. They need someone even taller. While a shooting guard may be more desirable, if the right one is not available, the Jazz would be hard pressed to pass on Motiejunas with the No. 12 pick.
Chad Ford of ESPN says that "Motiejunas is an aggressive scorer in the paint," but it is a comparison to a current NBA star that has scouts salivating all across the league.
"He's still a below-average rebounder and doesn't add much in the way of defense, but if Motiejunas keeps this up, he looks like a lock for the lottery," says Ford. "One NBA scout told me he could go much higher than that, comparing him to a young Pau Gasol. If the NBA lockout takes out some of the better underclassmen in the draft, the scout's high-lottery projection might be right."
Drafting a European player is always a risk. Some do not pan out, while many never even sign. But sometimes, you have to roll the dice on someone who is built like Motiejunas.
Right now, he is a seven foot tall power forward. But if he can add some muscle, he would be the ideal center in the NBA, and could fill a much needed role with the Jazz, especially if he can improve upon his rebounding skills.
If Motiejunas could become the next Eaton, it would be a solid pick. If he ever turned into the next Gasol, it would be the steal of the decade.
For more on the 2011 NBA Draft, make sure to check out Bleacher Report Correspondent Jason Heim, who takes a look at the 2011 NBA Mock Draft: Which Wildcat Goes First, Brandon Knight or Terrence Jones?
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