Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit BasketNews/Begum Unal

FC Barcelona newcomer Rokas Jokubaitis is having an outstanding start of the season, contributing well both in the Spanish Liga ACB, and the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.

He is averaging 6.3 points, 2.5 assists, 1.8 rebounds, and 7.8 PIR in the EuroLeague and 7.0 points, 1.5 assists, 1.2 rebounds, and 7.2 PIR in the ACB League.

The 20-year-old gave an interview to Mundo Deportivo, speaking about a great start of the season, differences of playing in Spain and Lithuania, and the aspects he wants to improve on this season the most.

"I did not expect it," Jokubaitis said about his fast start of the season. "In the preseason everything went well and I was in good shape. When I had more minutes to play and we had more games in fewer days, I received my chance and it went well. It is a nice feeling to be part of this team and to contribute to the victories."

The point guard explained the differences between playing in Spain and Lithuania.

"It is a different level. In Lithuania, you play in the EuroLeague, and on weekends you expect easier matches because Zalgiris is the main team in the domestic league. Here there is no difference and in Bilbao or Sevilla you can have the toughest matches. You have to be prepared to fight in each one."

The 34th pick of this year's NBA Draft played a lot of minutes at shooting guard last year with Zalgiris Kaunas. However, Sarunas Jasikevicius uses him more as a point guard in Barcelona. Jokubaitis said that he prefers playing at this position.

"This year, coach Saras makes me play as a point guard and I like it. I will not say that I love it but it is something that puts me to the test because in the ACB and in the EuroLeague, there are very good point guards that pressure you and against whom it is difficult to play. Progress as a point guard is the best for me."

When asked about the aspects of his game Jokubaitis wants to improve most, he talked about defense.

"All the players want to improve something and for me, defense is very important at the moment. In every game, we put a lot of emphasis on it and I watch a lot of videos about it."

Lastly, the 1.92 m guard touched on the troubles his former team, Zalgiris, is dealing with this season, resulting in the firing of coach Martin Schiller.

"It's not the best situation, but that's how professional basketball is and sometimes these things happen. Nobody expected it but it is part of the business. It will be difficult, with the season started, to start with a new system and coach but they have an experienced squad and they know how to play. I hope everything goes better."

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2-pointers this season

Points made: 21,0
Accuracy: 53,8%
Place in standings: 4
Record max: 25
Record min: 18
Most made 2FGs: Brandon Davies