After spending two seasons in Berlin with ALBA, Rokas Giedraitis signed a three-year deal with Baskonia during the off-season and moved to Spain. Giedraitis has turned into one of the best shooters in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague competition, shooting near 40% from beyond the arc.
During the past few years, the 28-year old guard has been on the radar of a couple of NBA teams who have expressed interest in signing him to two-way contracts. Giedraitis himself doesn’t rule out a jump to the NBA, but says is currently focused on this year with Baskonia.
Baskonia’s shooter talked to Eurohoops about this year’s start to the EuroLeague competition, the reasons he signed with Baskonia, and the NBA. He also names his best Lithuanian starting lineup of all time.
How are you feeling about your start to this EuroLeague season?
Rokas Giedraitis: The season has been tough for us so far. We got good games, bad games, but overall I think we’re improving. We’re trying to understand the system, what our coaches want from us, but we’re a young team, and we need time to improve. We are on the way up.
How different, challenging has this whole year been for you? After all you changed teams in the summer and moved to Spain.
RG: I just go to play basketball. I don’t think of challenges or anything else. I just try to do my job, what my coaches want and that’s it. I don’t want to think about challenges, if I play bad, or anything like that. No, I just come to play because coach want me. I try to leave everything on the court and that’s it.
What were the reasons you decided to sign a deal with Baskonia?
RG: For a long time, they were watching me. The first reason, of course, is Spain and the ACB competition. I wanted to try and play in the ACB. Baskonia was a really good team last year, they won the ACB, so that’s a step forward for me.
Did you have any other offers you considered from other EuroLeague teams? It was reported that Panathinaikos was interested in signing you.
RG: Yeah, that was only interest though. Baskonia wanted me a lot, I said yes and that’s it. I had a couple more offers…
Did you have an offer from Panathinaikos?
RG: That was only interest, not an offer.
What are some goals you want to accomplish during these three years with Baskonia?
RG: I want to win something. Every time when I play basketball, I want to win. It doesn’t matter if I played another sport, or even cards, I want to win. Same with basketball. I came here because I want to win. I hope we have chances to win. I see how my teammates are improving and I think we have a chance. Time will show. Everybody in this club is here because we want to win something.
For just this season alone, have you guys set any team goals?
RG: No, we don’t talk about team goals that much. We just come to practice, we’re still a young team and need to understand the coaching systems. We don’t think about goals. But yeah, we’re here because we want to win. I go day-by-day, game-by-game.
What part of your game do you want to improve the most this season?
RG: Shot off the dribble.
Your currently in your prime years, would you see yourself playing in the NBA in the future?
RG: Of course I want to play in the NBA. I want to try to be there. A couple of years ago I had said that I can fit well in some NBA teams. But, in basketball, there’s hard work and some part of luck. I think time will show. I have a lot of job to do right now, so I don’t think about the NBA now. Every kid who plays basketball wants to try out for the NBA.
Have there been any NBA teams that have shown interest in you? It was reported that a couple of teams were considering you as an option on a two-way contract.
RG: I don’t know. When I got this two-way contract offer, I was thinking that it’s unbelievable because it’s from NBA teams, but at the time, I was 26 and was thinking that it was better to play some more basketball in Europe.
Make a starting lineup with the best Lithuanian players of all time:
PG: Sarunas Jasikevicius
SG: Arvydas Macijauskas
SF: Ramunas Siskauskas / Linas Kleiza
PF: Domantas Sabonis
C: Arvydas Sabonis / Jonas Valanciunas