Knicks draft-and-stash pick receives GM votes for best international player

With the start of the regular season only a couple of weeks ago, the 2023-24 NBA GM Survey was released on Tuesday morning. The New York Knicks were tabbed to be the fifth-best team in the Eastern Conference, the same place they finished in 2022-23.

Tom Thibodeau received 13% of the votes for the head coach with the best defensive schemes, Darren Erman received votes for the best assistant coach, and Jalen Brunson received votes for the best leader and active player who will make the best head coach someday. Unsurprisingly, the Knicks received 7% of the votes for best home-court advantage.

There was another Knicks player whose name popped up, but unlike Brunson, this player hasn’t been part of a regular season game for New York.

The Thunder selected Rokas Jokubaitis with the No. 34 overall pick in 2021, and the Knicks acquired him in a draft day trade. Jokubaitis played for the Knicks in Summer League that year, but that’s the last time he wore an orange and blue uniform.

The 22-year-old represented Lithuania at the 2023 FIBA World Cup and averaged 12.6 points, 5.8 assists, and 2.3 rebounds per game, shooting 49.1% from two and 55% from three. Jokubaitis caught the attention of non-Knicks fans worldwide, and he must’ve caught the attention of NBA GMs, too.

Rokas Jokubaitis received GM votes for best non-NBA international player

NBA GMs were asked who the best non-NBA international player is, and here’s their responses:

  • Nikola Mirotic: 37%
  • Edy Tavares: 27%
  • Alex Sarr: 13%
  • Dzanan Musa: 10%
  • Willy Hernangomez: 7%

Juancho Hernangomez and Rokas Jokubaitis also received votes, a good sign for the Knicks’ 2021 draft-and-stash pick.

Jokubaitis was invited to play for New York at Summer League in July, but he understandably chose to focus on the World Cup.

He’s suiting up for FC Barcelona for another season, where he’s been since 2021-22. Knicks fans have been eagerly waiting for the guard to make the move to the NBA, but as noted by Jokubaitis’ agent, New York has a surplus of guards on its roster.

For now, fans will have to watch Jokubaitis continue to light it up in the EuroLeague. Maybe sooner rather than later, he’ll call New York home.