Most recently, the 21-year old scored nine straight points in the fourth quarter against Real Madrid, leading FC Barcelona to victory in the championship round of the Spanish Copa del Rey:
For a team that has longed for an answer at the point guard position for the greater part of a decade, it seems that the answer for New York is always both within and just outside their grasp.
Jokubaitis is no exception, with Knicks fans already contemplating the many methods by which he could end up donning the blue and orange atop the hardwood at Madison Square Garden.
New York’s front office may share the same fascination, as they used the fourth pick of the second-round on the guard in last year’s draft, passing over flashier names such as Ayo Dosunmu, Brandon Boston Jr., Jared Butler, or Sharife Cooper.
Jokubaitis finishes his season with FC Barcelona averaging 7.9 points, 3.1 assists, and shooting a blazing hot 57% clip from behind-the-arc, albeit on just 28 attempts.
With only 23 games remaining to the New York Knicks’ 2021-2022 season, some faction of the fanbase has already turned their eyes to the offseason, and paths to an upgraded product ahead of the fall.
If you’re among them, keep your eyes on the 21-year old Jokubaitis.
His performance in the clutch alone shows his potential to be a player that thrives under pressure. And there is no greater pressure than the many lights of Madison Square Garden and her fans.
But is that what he wants?
Jokubaitis: ‘I Am Focused On Other Things’
In a February 17 interview with Basketnews.com, Rokas Jokubaitis discussed a number of topics, including a potential future in the NBA.
He was largely dismissive (via Basketnews.com) of the idea, given FC Barcelona’s focus on the Copa del Rey:
When I feel that I am fully prepared and I have taken everything from Europe, then I will think about going there. I am not saying that I am not ready, but I am focused on other things.
When asked whether or not he’ll be returning to the EuroLeague next season, Jokubaitis solely replied “we will see.”
Perhaps the NBA isn’t at the forefront of the 21-year old’s mind.
But after the run he’s had with FC Barcelona this season, can you blame him?
Regardless, expect the New York Knicks to be up for anything, especially after their latest point guard blunder.
Knicks’ Kemba Experiment Officially a Failure
Four-time All-Star and former ninth overall pick Kemba Walker is the latest name to hit the New York Knicks point guard carousel. And his fate has been the same as the many who failed before him.
After signing a two-year deal worth $18-million last offseason, Walker’s averaging a career-worst 11.6 points per game.
In just one season, the 31-year old has gone from starting point guard to out of the rotation, and back into the rotation in his starting role once again.
But the numbers suggest that Walker’s been more responsible for New York’s 34 losses than their 25 wins this season.
According to Cleaning the Glass, with the 11-year veteran on the floor this season, the Knicks have a (-9.5) net rating over 1,922 possessions, and with him off the floor are (+3.5) over 3,640 possessions.
Furthermore, New York’s starting five-man lineup of Walker, along with Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson has a (-13.8) net rating.
That ranks last (and by a mile) in the NBA among all five-man lineups that have played more than 300 minutes this season, per NBA.com’s lineups tracking.
Yet while Walker’s future in the NBA is uncertain, the future of the point guard position in the Big Apple remains even more obscure. Perhaps, in the future, Rokas Jokubaitis will fit into the equation.
Or perhaps not.