FanPost

Lithuania vs Czech Republic friendly 1st half update

Since Lithuania is looking more and more like it may be one of the favorites for the tournament, I'll split my time between talking about D-Mo and talking about the team. Some people on this site may be interested in just watching the euro basket tournament for the sake of the basketball, and we might as well cheer for the national team that once was sponsored by the Grateful Dead...

First, the eastern European Rocket. Halfway through the game, he's played about 2/3 of the second quarter, wtih no fouls, 0-1 2pt, 0-0 3pt, 3-6 ft, 2 rebounds, and one monster block. He's nice and aggressive with the ball and plays within the offense, but he's being clearly outplayed by Linas Kleiza at the PF spot and it's not surprising that he's getting about 12 minutes a game at this point. His offensive game is good but not as good as it needs to be to really move up, his boxing out is still terrible, and somehow he's just never in a position where the guards can pass him the ball. Part of it may be the quality of the guards (see the later discussion) but he's not really making it easy on them.

In general, it looks like Donatas is going to be an 8th man on a very good squad in this tournament. His play has not really inspired a ton of confidence in me as I try to project whether his game will match up better with the style of play in Houston - he's a capable offensive player, but not really as good as some people want to believe on this site.

The team itself is interesting to watch, although there are glaring deficiencies at guard. The Lithuanian guards can shoot, but they really don't have anything in the way of a first step, and they don't know how to find the open man when the defense collapses on a drive. For example, if a guard drives left, there's usually a man behind him open behind him on the left 3pt line, but the guard tends to pass the ball in the direction that he's looking instead, to the right corner 3 (which is better guarded) instead. There's not a ton of court awareness or passing.

On the other hand, the bigs are good. They can all play inside or outside except for Jonas Valenciunas, who is a really legit center and dominates down low due to his height/strength and ability to play with real quickness. If Donatas could move like Jonas can, he would be an above average starter in the NBA. Good thing Jonas can't shoot. Kleiza is a tweener power forward, which is fine in euro basket, and he's got good agility and nice hook shots to go along with decent outside shooting. The other players (whose names I can't figure out) are much stronger than the competition at this level and push people around quite a bit.

The defense inside is good, but the zone defense (as mentioned by some others) that gets used intermittently is both crap to watch and not useful.

Lithuania could have a shot if they can battle the much better guards of spain and greece. In the paint, they probably have the best young talent in Europe.

No cursing in title. No pirated material, such as links to online game streams. Do not cut/paste entire sections of content from other websites. Thanks.

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