The United States put Sunday’s second-round loss to Lithuania in the rearview mirror and cruised to a 100-63 win over Italy in Tuesday’s quarterfinal contest. The script was flipped as Rokas Jokubaitis and Lithuania struggled in their quarterfinal matchup against Serbia and lost 87-68.
Lithuania’s win over Team USA wasn’t a good omen, as this marks the third time Lithuania beat the United States and then failed to medal. It happened at the 1998 World Championships and then again at the 2004 Olympics. After their loss, the highest Lithuania can finish is in fifth place.
New York’s 2021 second-round draft pick finished with 13 points (5-of-9) and a game-high nine assists against Serbia. Jokubaitis and Lithuania didn’t get the result they were hoping for, but the 22-year-old averaged 12.8 points, 6.2 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game in the World Cup, shooting 48.6% from the field and 62.5% from three.
Jokubaitis looks to be NBA-ready, but the Knicks’ surplus of guards could be part of why he’s continuing to play in Europe.
United States bounce back from loss to Lithuania, Knicks’ Rokas Jokubaitis eliminated
New York has two guards still competing in the World Cup, Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart. Brunson scored nine points (3-of-6), four assists, and two rebounds in 16 minutes in the United States’ rout over Italy. Hart finished with five points (2-of-4), four rebounds, and two assists in 20 minutes. Team USA will play either Germany or Latvia on Friday in the semifinals.
The U.S. couldn’t have responded better to Sunday’s loss to Lithuania, where Jokubaitis posted nine points, six assists, and three rebounds in 23 minutes. After the United States’ second-round loss, Brunson only had good things to say about Jokubaitis.
Brunson and Jokuabitis could be future teammates, but for now, the Lithuanian native is set to play another season for FC Barcelona. Jokubaitis extended his contract this summer with the organization to 2024.
Rokas Jokubaitis’ play in the World Cup surely caught the attention of New York’s front office, but there hasn’t been anything new reported about his future with the Knicks organization.