Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has recalled forward/center Donatas Motiejunas from Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner Rio Grande Valley.
Motiejunas (7-0, 222, Lithuania), who was assigned to Rio Grande Valley on Nov. 13, averaged 24.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in two starts with the Vipers. In Friday’s season opener against Bakersfield, Motiejunas led the team with 31 points and eight boards in 36 minutes. Last night, he posted a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds against the Jam.
I think this is more a case of D-Mo having nothing left to gain down in the Valley, after destroying the competition, than it is of him being needed in the rotation. He doesn’t really have any skills left that need to be honed against the underlings – he just has to get reps against the big boys, at this point.
At the same time, with Terrence Jones somewhat fizzling off, and with the staff perhaps feeling reaffirmed in the importance of a stretch shooting-4 for this offense, maybe a case could be made that ‘Mo will get some burn. We’ll find out on Tuesday.
Recently I’ve been reflecting on how much our opinions of the game are tied up with how well the players are shooting. The margins between a made basket and a missed one are so small that there will always be an element of randomness in the result. The upshot is that it is very difficult to disentangle a player or team’s shooting performance with how good they actually are. If you make them all, you look like champions, if you miss them all, you look like last year’s Bobcats.
In this game, we saw what happens when all the shots go in. The Rockets looked near invincible and racked up an incredible 72 (!!) points by half time, led by supernova-hot Chandler Parsons. Try out this line for size from half time: 22 minutes played, 26 points on 11-13 shooting (3-4 on threes), 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists 1 block. And they didn’t stop coming after that either.