Observing Rokas Jokubaitis
June 5th, 2020
by Alan Lu
I decided to take the time to watch Zalgiris’ 6-3 Lithuanian point guard, Rokas Jokubaitis play in a Euroleague basketball game against ALBA Berlin that took place on January 24th, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via Full Basketball Games. Jokubaitis had recently declared to enter the draft, and he played very well in limited minutes in both the Euroleague and in Lithuania’s top professional league this season. I set out to watch him play to gauge his skill set, and to see where he is at right now. Here are my thoughts on how he fared that day, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.
Rokas Jokubaitis is a very good spot-up shooter that excels at knocking down spot-up threes off the catch. He moves well off the ball, and he has a quick release that enables him to get his shot off easily. Plus, he also will run the floor, and he was able to get a quick score on a fast break.
However, he struggled to score on half-court drives. Jokubaitis is not particularly quick nor explosive, as he had trouble consistently getting all the way to the rim, and he would tend to miss on contested layups around the basket. He did manage to quickly split a double team once, but he ended up missing on a floater that time.
Plus, Jokbaitis also displayed adequate playmaking skills. He can throw solid, timely passes off the dribble, and he will also throw nice touch passes to find teammates on the move to set up scores for his teammates. However, sometimes he would throw hasty, ill-advised passes into traffic that would get intercepted, and he also got knocked down after getting an offensive rebound that caused him to lose the ball another time. Though he didn’t get many rebounds in this game, Jokubaitis would aggressively leap up to get offensive boards in traffic to help his team on the glass.
He looked to be about average defensively. For the positives, Jokubaitis would play passing lanes to get steals and deflections, and he also would actively contest threes and shots off the dribble to force some misses. He also was able to hustle back on defense, and he was able to rotate back to contest a shot off of a drive to force a miss in transition. However, he tended to get caught on screens and would sometimes go the wrong way, which would cause him to commit fouls and allow scores. He also had trouble staying in front of opposing ball handlers, as he would get beat off the dribble to allow scores.
Overall, Rokas Jokubaitis is a smart, skilled playmaker that shoots the ball well, but his lack of elite physical tools may limit his ceiling as a prospect for the NBA. He played really well in the first half, but he forced the issue a bit too much later on that caused him to be turnover prone. His lack of foot speed may cause him to struggle to create his own shot or defend at higher levels, but he is a very good shooter and he is quite competitive defensively. If he stays in the draft, he projects to be a potential second round pick, as he could end up being a shooting specialist in the NBA.
This also presented an opportunity to watch ALBA Berlin’s 6-4, 2000-born German guard, Jonas Mattisseck play in this game. He had played well early in the Euroleague season as he was able to get off to a fast start early in the year, but his shooting percentages quickly tapered off after that. Still, I wanted to see how well he would hold up in a match where he would play in one of the toughest leagues in international basketball.
Mattisseck didn’t look to shoot the ball very often, but he moves well off the ball, and he would often look to take long, two-point shots. He had trouble getting all the way to the hoop off the dribble, and he missed badly on his first shot attempt, and he also missed another shot later on. Even more disappointing, was that Mattisseck did not take a single three-point shot in this game, and he was held scoreless against Zalgiris.
He also is an unselfish player that will look to move the basketball. He was able to find an open shooter to notch an assist, and he was able to throw an entry pass that helped lead to a score for his team. However, he threw another entry pass that ended up getting deflected out of bounds on a separate play.
Though he didn’t grab many boards in this game, Mattisseck was able to aggressively run down an offensive board to help his team on the glass. Defensively, he looked to be about average. He was able to contest some three-point shots to force misses. However, he was late to close out on a shooter once, which led his team to allow an opponent to score on an open three once. He also committed a reach-in foul later on due to over-aggressiveness. Overall, Jonas Mattisseck did not have a great game overall, as he did not score nor provided much of an impact on either end of the floor, but he played unselfishly and competitively when he was on the floor. He will need to be more aggressive on offense moving forward, and he will need to improve his jump shot. He also does not possess elite physical tools, so his struggles to create his own shot may limit his upside as a prospect for the NBA. Right now, he will need to continue to hone his game overseas, but if he can play well next season, he could be a prospect to watch in the future.