By Giovanni Conte
This year has a bevy of European first round talents eligible for the draft and many remain on display in domestic league playoffs. Here’s a look at how they are finishing up their seasons.
Donatas Motiejunas (Benetton Treviso – Italy): The talented 7-foot forward born in 1990 played a great season, and in the first round of playoffs he dominated in the paint. In four games he scored 15.3 points per game (63% 2p, 44% 3p and 73% ft) in just 24 minutes per game. In the second round, against Montepaschi Siena (who won the last four championships) “Moti” had a lot of problems in trying to beat one of the best defense in Europe, and he averaged only 7 points in three games on 4/13 in 2p and 2/6 in 3p. He finished the regular season with 13.1 points and 4.4 rebounds averages in 25 minutes per game.
Jan Vesely (Partizan Belgrado – Serbia): Vesely started the first round with a good game in an easy victory against FMP. Vesely scored 16 points (7/8 2p, 0/1 3p, 2/3 ft) in only 19 minutes. For now his best performance during the playoffs. But he’s still playing well in this post season: in five games he has averaged 13 points on an impressive 73% inside the arc (28/38). He finished the regular season averaging 11.2 points per game, shooting with excellent percentage from the field: 60% in two points shots, and 36% from the three point line … But an horrific 40% from the charity stripe (27/67), confirmed in this last five games (9/22, 41%).
Jonas Valanciunas (Lietuvos Rytas – Lithuania): He has just lost the championship finals against Zalgiris Kaunas, but he played a solid season while he trailed off some during the playoffs. In the nine post-season games he averaged 10 points and 5.3 rebounds, with an incredible 71% from the field (35/49) and 64.5% in free throws. These are good statistics, but in the regular season he did even better: 12 points and 8.1 rebounds per game shooting 65% from the field and 83.8% (62/74) when the clock is stopped.
Davis Bertans (Olimpia Lubiana – Slovenia): The Latvian sharp shooter played only 18 minutes in three post season games. He scored 3 points and grabbed two rebounds. In the regular season he averaged 4.6 points in 11 minutes per game… Not much to work with but he shot 45% from the three point line!
Nikola Mirotic (Real Madrid – Spain): The young forward plays two completely different games in the first round. In the first match Mirotic dropped 14 points (2/5 3p, 8/8 ft), grabbed 4 rebounds and delivered 3 assists in less than 19 minutes; in game 2 he failed the two shots he tried and finished with 0 points. In the second round Nikola played poorly just like his team. He scored just 14 points in a total of 38 minutes. This season he averaged 8 points (57% 2p, 40% 3p, 89% ft) and 3 rebounds in 17 minutes per game.