The chances of an international player cracking the top half of the first round of the June 24 Draft is decreasing rapidly, with 19-year-old forward Donatas Motiejunas of Lithuania likely to pull his name from consideraton before the June 15 deadline for international players under 22 to withdraw from the Draft. The 7-footer, who is playing for Benetton Treviso this season, was looking to get a guarantee from a top-12 team in the Draft before coming to play in the NBA next season, but none was forthcoming.
In a sign that Motiejunas is likely to stay in Europe, he had his tonsils removed on Monday after dealing with throat infections for the better part of a year. The time he'll spend recuperating instead of practicing and working out for potential NBA employers would indicate that he's made his decision.
A source close to Motiejunas put the chances of his withdrawal from the Draft at "90-10."
Through the first part of this year, many mock drafts had Motiejunas as a potential top-10 pick, with his ability to shoot and score at his size a potential boon for NBA teams. But growing concerns about his weight and his defense made many NBA personnel people in the top half of the Draft leery. If Motiejunas stays with Benetton another year and works on his game he probably will be one of the top prospects in the 2011 Draft, which isn't viewed as having as many big men prospects.
The Draft status of another 2010 prospect with first-round potential, French forward Kevin Seraphin, is also up in the air. Seraphin injured his knee this week and is expected to miss a couple of weeks at minimum, and won't be able to work out for NBA teams that have gone to Europe this week to see him in action with his French League team, Cholet, which is in the French League semifinals, or in next week's Adidas Eurocamp in Treviso.
Seraphin, whose agent, Bouna Ndiaye, is credited with helping developing talents like Portland's Nicolas Batum and Dallas rookie guard Rod Boubois while they were emerging talents in Europe, is currently thought to be a late first-round pick by NBA personnel sources.