LAS VEGAS — The Knicks’ scouting department certainly has Europe covered, and it may have helped confirm the second-round drafting of Lithuanian point guard Rokas Jokubaitis at No. 34 in last month’s draft.
Entering the season, the Knicks quietly added a second international scout, Adam Tatalovich. The Knicks already had one European-based scout in Kevin Wilson, who is stationed in Barcelona.
The Knicks felt they needed a larger presence in Eastern Europe and snagged Tatalovich, who is from Indiana but based in Serbia. The last three seasons, Jokubaitis, played in the Lithuanian League for Zalgiris.
While Wilson scouted Jokubaitis in Euroleague matches, having Tatalovich, who previously worked for Sacramento, gave the Knicks another set of eyes on site.
In addition, Tatalovich used to work as a consultant for the University of Houston and is close with Cougars coach Kelvin Sampson. Tatalovich did extensive research on Houston shooting guard Quentin Grimes, whom the Knicks snatched at No. 25.
Tatalovich is also in charge of scouting for China and Australia, as he used to coach in the Chinese Basketball Association.
Meanwhile, Jokubaitis impressed on many levels in his three outings with the Knicks summer league team, but the decision was made for him to spend his first season in Barcelona in the mighty Spanish League rather than sign a two-way G-League contract. It may benefit Jokubaitis financially as well.
Wilson will be in town to watch most of Jokubaitis’ home games live. Wilson has been with the Knicks since 2000, brought over from Utah by former GM Scott Layden.
In limited minutes, Jokubaitis shot 70 percent in the three games (7 of 10) and showed he can push the pace, pass and hit 3s. Knicks brass like his basketball IQ.
“His skill set, he can play on the ball with pick-and-rolls, he’s shown he can make 3-point shots and can play off the ball,’’ summer league coach Dice Yoshimoto said. “He plays hard and with intensity.’’
Meanwhile, the Knicks’ other international signing, Spanish leaguer Luca Vildoza, has not panned out. He’s missed the last three games with a sore foot after going scoreless in the opening two contests. He also had a spotty Olympics for Argentina.
Signed last May, Vildoza got a four-year, $13.4 million non-guaranteed deal and already collected the first season. The Knicks have until the day after the season opener to release him before the second year of the deal is guaranteed.
The Knicks finish their summer league with a consolation game versus Atlanta on Monday.
Not only did the Knicks bypass small forward Jalen Johnson in the draft at No. 19, but essentially passed on Atlanta point guard Sharife Cooper, of Auburn, four times. Cooper hit a game-winning 3-pointer and posted a 21-point, 12-assist game, proving he could be a steal at No. 48. According to a source, the Knicks’ 36th pick, Miles McBride, badly outplayed Cooper at a Knicks workout. McBride has had two spectacular games, too, including Saturday’s 23-point, five-assist outing.
View original post