If you're a Rockets fan, odds are good that you are excited to see Donatas Motiejunas play next year. Hell, you might even be ready to see him start. As we've learned over the years, expectations and reality are often two very different things.
Let's try to draw our own conclusions and create some realistic expectations for Motiejunas' rookie season.
As the Rockets have seen first-hand, the NBA is a completely different animal from Euroleague play. Even seasoned veterans like Luis Scola and David Andersen took at least half a season to make the adjustments needed to succeed (Andersen never really did). Can Motiejunas, who has much less experience than the aforementioned duo, produce from game one? Probably not.
Here's a look at a couple of rookie seasons from young big men who came over from Europe:
Nowitzki and Bargnani are the two most notable European big men that Motiejunas is often compared to. All three are/were highly rated, long big men with deep offensive repertoires going into the NBA. As you can see from this data, it's very difficult for a young big man to make a significant impact immediately. Dirk Nowitzki, one of the most prolific scorers of all-time, struggled to gain traction as a 20 year old with Dallas. Bargnani, a 21 year old who had just been drafted #1 overall, took four years to post a league average PER.
So perhaps we should temper our expectations for Motiejunas a bit, at least for this season. If Motiejunas becomes a similar caliber player to Bargnani, it'll be a huge boon for the Rockets. However, if history is any indication, that ceiling may be a few years away.
Jump for your links!
Sunday was an especially slow news day, with the exception of the National Team's game against France, so apologies for the lack of links today.
Rockets Didn’t Expect To Get Lin Or Asik | HOOPSWORLD
This article is a few days old, but it's a good, brief glance at the improbable acquisitions of Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin.
Ultimate Rockets " Rockets Summer League Player Says He’s Not Impressed With Lin
This is old news if you saw the New York Daily News post yesterday, but the Chronicle has the story on Machado's view of Jeremy Lin.
Dwight Howard Could Be Traded By End Of Week, Says League Sources | SI Tracking Blog
SI has the story on Sam Amico's report that the Magic will look to trade Dwight Howard this week.
2012 Olympics -- LeBron James' Dishes Help USA Pass First Test - ESPN
Marc Stein has ESPN's story on the United States' dominating victory over France.
LeBron James Leads Team USA Over France - SI.com
SI's look at the US win over France. LeBron James took center stage again in Ian Thomsen's take.