While it’s too early to tell whether Duke star and New York Knicks 3rd overall draft choice RJ Barrett will become the force he’s expected to be, second-rounder Ignas Brazdeikis has shown incredible production so far.
The Summer League is generally a time where the teams can gauge their young talent and begin to see them take developmental steps before the regular season. Barrett, who’s averaged 21% from the field, has underwhelmed, but it’s not something we should worry about given his age and youth.
However, appreciating the success of youngsters is important. Brazdeikis has been on fire since starting with the Knicks, putting up 30-points in his latest effort against the Pheonix Suns, hitting a game-tying three-point shot with 25 seconds remaining on the clock.
What are the New York Knicks getting from the Lithuanian?
As a freshman with Michigan in the Big Ten conference, Ignas showed great offensive versatility and the ability to make an impact in that facet. He averaged a solid 14.8 points-per-game in 2018 (sports reference), but with more talent around him at the NBA level, I believe he will continue to grow and produce efficiently.
The Canadian earned Big Ten Rookie of the Year honors, displaying a diverse array of skills that will help him succeed at the next level. The 6-foot-7 forward has above-average ball-handling skills for his size, which enables him to push the ball up the court with speed and effectiveness.
He created a lot of fast-break opportunities with this skill and I anticipate he will continue to utilize it in his rookie campaign. The ability to stretch the court and play fast is something that the Knicks have failed to do in the past — stopping opposing team’s momentum and creating some of their own was difficult, but Brazdeikis offers that to the Knicks.
Being a crafty finisher and athletic player on offense will help him earn playing time, but he will need to develop his defense if he wishes to be a regular player on the floor. There’s much he needs to work on, but he’s starting out at a good level at just 20-years-old.