Euroleague Rising Star candidates: Rokas Jokubaitis
Playing in Barcelona this season, especially as a young star, can be both: a blessing and a curse. And Jokubaitis, EuroLeague Rising Star last year feels this on his skin, he has the chance to learn from the best in a team full of superstars, but in return, he does not get enough minutes for rapid development due to the competition on his position and the fact that in such a team there is no 2nd place scenario, the team is built to deliver performance. Compared to last season, the number of minutes in the ACB increased and the Euroleague minutes decreased. In the championship, in 19.7 minutes he has 8.2 points, 4.6 assists and 2.1 rebounds, very good numbers considering the high rotation of the team and in the Euroleague, he has 5.3 points, 2.2 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 14.4 minutes. His game has grown a lot after coming from Lithuania to Spain and you can see a maturity in his game, especially at the level of passes and 3-point shots.
in 2016, at the FIBA U16 European Championship, he helped Lithuania finish in first place with 10 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 15.6 minutes. Jokubaitis was the youngest player at the 2017 FIBA Under-19 World Cup, averaging 10 points and 5.3 assists per game in 20 minutes, but they failed to reach the podium, losing to Italy in the quarterfinals. At the 2018 FIBA U18 European Championship, he averaged 12.9 points and 5.6 rebounds but again they stopped in the quarterfinals losing this time to Russia although they started the tournament with a victory against the team that won the trophy Serbia. Against Serbia, Rokas had 14 points and 10 assists. At the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup, he averaged 11.3 points and 5.6 assists per game. They lost in the semifinals against a good generation of the USA that included Tyrese Haliburton, Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs, and Cade Cunningham. Jokubaitis shone in the quarterfinal match against Serbia again with 21 points and 10 assists. In the last 3 years, he managed to establish himself as a starter in the national team, where he averages 9 points, 7 assists, and 3.5 rebounds in 28 minutes.
“From a few practices that I had with the Knicks in Vegas, I can bring this calmness, controlling the tempo at the point guard position, bring some cold-mind, to tell my teams where to go, what do we have to be better, to be a second coach on the court.,” Jokubaitis said in August for New York Post.
Playing in a team with Mirotic, Laprovittola, Higgins, Satoransky, and Vesely can only make you aspire to become better every day. And maybe one day the New York Knicks, the club that drafted him, will call him to the NBA.
Photo credit: PostingandToasting