Fresh from winning the Euroleague’s Rising Star award, New York Knicks draft stash Rokas Jokubaitis was rendered ineffective in the Final Four.
Jokubaitis was held to four points and a game-worst -16 plus-minus as FC Barcelona fell short in an 86-83 loss to Real Madrid Thursday in their Euroleague’s Final Four matchup.
The 21-year-old Lithuanian guard picked up the worst time to produce a dud.
Jokubaitis had zero assists in foul-plagued 10 minutes of play. He only had one rebound and picked up three fouls in a forgettable performance.
It wasn’t the type of performance that will excite the Knicks to bring him over next season.
But his overall play in his first year with FC Barcelona was enough for him to beat Victor Wembanyama, the projected No. 1 overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft, for the Rising Star award. Jokubaitis averaged 7.2 points, 2.8 assists, and 7.6 PIR (performance index rating) before the Final Four.
“It’s true that all those individual awards bring the attention over there,” Jokubaitis told BasketNews ahead of the Final Four. “I think [Knicks] people seeing me winning the Rising Star award gives them more excitement than just simple highlights from the games. This award won’t make things worse, that’s for sure.”
Jokubaitis, the 34th pick in the last year’s draft, indicated that he wanted to be a rotation player and not just a benchwarmer in the NBA. It was just one game, but his subpar performance in a high-stakes game isn’t ideal.
“It’s very likely that I’ll stay in Barcelona for one more year, so I will try to impress them [Knicks] even more,” Jokubaitis said.
Perhaps it’s the right move.
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