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Donatas Motiejunas

Donatas Motiejunas was born on September 20, 1990 in Kaunas, Lithuania. He began his European basketball career in 2005 playing with Zalgiris-Arvydas, the junior team of Zalgiris Kaunas, a team in the Lithuanian National Basketball League. In the 2007-2008 season, he debuted for Zalgiris-Kaunas in a Baltic League match against the ASK Riga. In that game, Montiejunas scored 15 points in 22 minutes.

In 2008, Donatas Motiejunas committed to Aisciai Kaunas for the 2008-2009 season. That year, he averaged 7.0 rebounds and 19.9 points in 29.3 minutes per game. He also scored 29 points, for a season high against Nevezis in March 2009.

In August 2009, Donatas Motiejunas signed a multi-year contract with Lega Basket Serie A team, Benetton Treviso. During the 2009-2010 season, he played in 33 games and averaged 5.2 rebounds and 9.8 points per game. In April 2010, he made a declaration of intent to enter the 2010 NBA Draft, but withdrew later to stay with Benetton Treviso. His efforts helped Benetton make it to the 2010-2011 Eurocup Final Four, where he averaged 5.6 rebounds and 10.9 points per game. Donatas Motiejunas also won the 2011 Eurocup Rising Star Award.

In June 2011, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Donatas Motiejunas as the 20th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. One day after the draft, he was traded to the Houston Rockets. However, due to the NBA lockout in 2011, he returned to play in Europe.

In September 2011, Benetton traded Donatas Motiejunas to Poland’s Asseco Prokom for the 2011-2012 season. In December 2011, he completed 21 rebounds against Union Olimpija for a career high. Of these 21 rebounds, 18 were defensive and this was noted as the most defensive rebounds in a Euroleague game since the 2000-2001 season. During his tenure at Asseco Prokom, he helped lead them to a 9th consecutive PLK title in 2012.

Donatas Motiejunas signed a 4-year contract with the Houston Rockets in July 2012. He subsequently joined the Rockets for the 2012 NBA Summer League. In his summer debut, he completed 25 points, 2 assists, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block. Overall, Donatas Motiejunas averaged 16.3 points and 7.8 rebounds in four summer games.

However, Donatas Motiejunas was assigned to the NBA Development League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers in November 2012. During his debut, he scored 31 points, 3 assists, 8 rebounds, and 1 steal. Throughout the 2012-2013 season, he was recalled by the Rockets and reassigned 2 more times to the NBA Development League.

In October 2013, the Houston Rockets extended Donatas Motiejunas's contract through the 2014-2015 season. Despite little playing time during the 2013-2014 season, he went on to average 5.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 62 games for Houston.

In October 2014, Houston once again extended Donatas Motiejunas's contract through the 2015-2016 season. Due to Dwight Howard’s 11 game absence and Terrence Jones’s absence for the first half of the season, Donatas Motiejunas was allowed to play more and began a career-best season. He averaged 14.3 points and 7.1 rebounds while playing during Howard’s absence.

In January 2015, Donatas Motiejunas scored 25 points for a career-high in a 93-87 win against the Boston Celtics. However, in March 2015, he was sidelined for the remainder of the season due to lower tightness and pain in his lower back. Overall, he led the league for accurate shots with 53.4% and was recognized with an “A” grade award for his 2014-2015 season performance by the Houston Chronicle.

Motiejunas, Donatas