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Frank Slade
05-09-2006, 12:08 PM
Jasikevicius:The NBA is the place for me

In an interview to Sport5.co.il, the Lithuanian guard declares that he doesn’t want to come back to Israel at this stage. But Saras does admit: This season was a disappointment

09/05/06 | 12:44


It was a bit uneasy watching Sarunas Jasikevicius in the sixth game of the New Jersey Indiana series.

The Lithuanian guard, who ruled European basketball for 3 straight years – 2 of them in Maccabi Tel Aviv, played 12 minutes and did not score.It was a game indicative of the second part of his rookie season.

His declining minutes lately and his well known & publicized opinion about preferring the more team-like basketball played in Europe as opposed to the one-on-one style of the NBA, have led to speculations that he might return to Maccabi Tel Aviv next season despite his contract for two more years. The speculations were also fueled by Maccabi’s loss in the Euroleague final and his upcoming marriage to his Israeli girl friend.

But ‘Saras’ has clarified he won’t give up easily in a phone interview on Sunday: “I want to stay in the NBA”, he said. “I really miss Maccabi Tel Aviv, no question, But i'm happy I made the move to the NBA and think the NBA is the right Place for me despite all my love to Maccabi”.

Looking back at the season, his numbers weren’t bad at all for a rookie coming late in his career from Europe: 7.3 points in 20.8 minutes per game. “I really liked the way things were going for me personally in the first 50 games”, he said. “That's what I will take from this season: I can play at this level and it makes me feel good”.

The problems for him started around the Allstar break. Personally he kind of hit the famous ‘rookie wall’ and with Jamaal Tinsley’s return from injury and the strong play by Anthony Johnson, he got less & less playing time, even getting some notorious DNP’s. In March he averaged just 5.5 points a game and in April only 4 hitting only 26.1% from the field. In the series against the Nets he averaged 2.8 points and 11 minutes a game.

"Towards the end, things have changed for me that I can't explain”, he said, “Some strange things have happened that took me out of the rotation. I talked with coach Carlisle a couple of times, but he didn't say anything. But he's the coach and he makes his own decisions”.
saras. our whole season was a disappointment


Last summer, Jasikevicius was weighing offers mainly from two teams: Indiana & Cleveland. He chose the Pacers because he thought they were true championship contenders. With a 41-41 record and early exit in the playoffs, it’s obvious that the Pacers will have a busy summer getting back to contention level.
"From a team standpoint, our whole season was a disappointment”, he said, “I think our loss in the first round was basically written on the wall with the way we played in the regular season.


When I came to this situation in Indiana, I thought things would be different, but things happened the wrong way. It's normal that people would talk about making changes to the team and i'm sure changes are coming”. In Europe he was the Jason Kidd/Steve Nash of Maccabi Tel Aviv and before them, of Barcelona. He was the boss, the floor general running all the breaks and hitting the big shots.

When asked on Sunday if his game is suited to the NBA, he had no doubts. “The game here is different from the European game, but teams that are playing in a similar style to Europe, teams that move the ball a lot, are those still playing and succeeding in the playoffs. “I think I can play in this league, on a good level. It's amazing being a part of this league, to play against the best in the world. I really like it, I want to stay here whether it's in Indiana or another team
L I N K (http://www.sport5.co.il/articles.aspx?FolderID=283&docID=5760&lang=he)

Kegboy
05-09-2006, 12:13 PM
As an aside, I don't get the talk about him going back to Europe. He has a guaranteed contract here. We'd have to give him a buyout, same as when Euros have contracts with teams over there that they need to buy out of.

Moses
05-09-2006, 12:30 PM
He pretty much said what everyone thought he was thinking.

I would still love to keep him.

Kestas
05-09-2006, 01:45 PM
As an aside, I don't get the talk about him going back to Europe. He has a guaranteed contract here. We'd have to give him a buyout, same as when Euros have contracts with teams over there that they need to buy out of.

in Europe by "buyout" we mean (or at least i understand it this way) the sum of money the other team has to pay to the team that holds the player's contract. the team, which releases it's player under contract to another team for good, doesn't have to pay him anything, imho. on the contrary - ir recieves money from the team this player is going to (or from this player personally if he wants very badly to leave to another team). this way, say, Songaila (Bulls) gave away all of his first year sallary and even more to CSKA (I tihnk). I think same happened to Delfino as these guys really wanted to play in NBA. some players, reportedly, have huge buyouts (Scola, of example), that reach millions of euros.
some teams often make good living from selling their young players to good clubs. in football buyouts often reach tens of millions.

k

RWB
05-09-2006, 01:54 PM
At least Saras is learning. Didn't see any comments in this article to cause the Indiana natives to become restless. Sounds like the man is really ready to compete for a job now. This is a good sign.

Anthem
05-09-2006, 01:55 PM
At least Saras is learning. Didn't see any comments in this article to cause the Indiana natives to become restless. Sounds like the man is really ready to compete for a job now. This is a good sign.
Agreed. It should also put some of the "Saras is too good for the NBA" talk to rest.

3ballinhoop
05-09-2006, 02:08 PM
What Saras is saying is basically:
-The coach took him out of the rotation without even communicating with him about it.He isn't happy about that.
-Indianas/Carlisles system sucks. Teams with a better system, that is more team orientated, still play and would be a much better fit for him.
-He definitely thinks his style can be used in the NBA on a high level, only in a more team orientated system, like the ones of more succesful teams.

Btw, i think it is hilarious to see that the people that DON'T like Saras always seem to be the first and most active to post comments in any thread about him.

indygeezer
05-09-2006, 02:17 PM
Let me say this, although I consider RC to be a pretty good coach, and cannot think of one to replace him...I wanna see Saras play here under a system more like a running game. NOTE I SAID HERE.

I also did not like the comment about "he didn't say anything" (Could that be a misinterpretation of what was said?)



Regarding his contract, I was under the impression that he had an opt-out after the 1st year.

Anthem
05-09-2006, 02:39 PM
Btw, i think it is hilarious to see that the people that DON'T like Saras always seem to be the first and most active to post comments in any thread about him.
:confused:

How's that? Nobody that dislikes Saras has even posted in this thread.

Shade
05-09-2006, 03:23 PM
OT - My roommate actually ran into Runi the other day and talked with him briefly. AFAIK, he didn't say anything particularly interested from a Pacers standpoint, though.

Lithfan
05-09-2006, 04:44 PM
Well at least he didn't give up. Its good.

CableKC
05-09-2006, 07:20 PM
I'm just glad that he didn't say anything stupid.

pizza guy
05-09-2006, 07:34 PM
It's hard for a lot of Euro players that come over to adjust to the NBA game. We could see in the beginning of the season that he can fit in just fine. He's a good passer, and a good shooter - though he does lack defense. I really think that a big problem for him was the difference in season length. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Euro season about 15-20 games shorter than the NBA? It's not a coincidence that his drop off in production occured around the same time his season would have been ending in Europe.

Hopefully, next year he'll be alittle more adjusted to the season length and NBA style and he can be effective. I think he has what it takes to be a good PG for us, especially if RC listens to JO's comments about getting not being "the biggest, strongest guy in the world," and Bird's comments that hinted toward a more ball-movement game-plan. Runi can certainly be good, but the coaching staff has to use him properly, and he has to get his body adjusted to the different demands.

Lord Helmet
05-09-2006, 07:43 PM
Let him come back next year with a year of experience under his belt. He may never be the player he was, but he can be decent.

Rytas_Jega
05-10-2006, 05:56 AM
I really think that a big problem for him was the difference in season length. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Euro season about 15-20 games shorter than the NBA? It's not a coincidence that his drop off in production occured around the same time his season would have been ending in Europe.


Saras played his best games in Euroleague final fours (April-May) in his last two European seasons.

He also averaged 30 and 31 minutes in his last two European seasons. European training system is more intensive, too.

Btw, Sarunas has said he is pleased having more time for a rest than he had playing in Europe.

He told that in his interview to "Lietuvos Ryto" TV at the All-star weekend, just before his collapse.

Indeed, I have no idea what's happened to Sarunas.

Julius Sour
05-10-2006, 10:06 AM
The guy is getting maRRied.

Rytas, look what happens to a LT basketball player just before his marriage and couple month after... it's depressing but it's true :)

DJ's say: "Married DJ - DEAD DJ", maybe this suits some bball players,too. Unless they become Daddys:D

Yo!

Js