New York Knicks: Ignas Brazdeikis can be steal of the draft

Alexander Wilson
New York Knicks, Michigan Wolverines, Ignas Brazdeikis
Mar 23, 2019; Des Moines, IA, United States; Michigan Wolverines forward Ignas Brazdeikis (13) dunks the ball during the first half against the Florida Gators in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks didn’t even bring in Ignas Brazdeikis for a workout thinking he would be drafted well before the 55th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Moving up with Sacramento Kings to the 47th pick to steal the Lithuanian might have been one of the most sneaky-good moves of the draft.

The 6-foot-7 forward is a proficient scorer but needs to develop his defensive skills at the professional level. The Knicks, however, were keen on grabbing the talented Michigan product – paying the Kings $1 million in cash considerations.

The New York Knicks rookie commented on his drafting spot:

“I was kind of surprised I wasn’t drafted in the first round,’’ Brazdeikis told The Post on Wednesday after the Knicks’ summer league practice. “But I’m happy with the situation I’m in. It’s a great situation for me, and I’m proud to be a Knick. I’m definitely going to prove a lot of people wrong.’’

President Steve Mills commented previously on the forward’s abilities, stating:

“There was toughness and competitiveness he exhibited in those games. Scott and I looked at each other, he’s high on the list, but I don’t think he’ll make it out of the first round. He’s physical, tough, can shoot. As our analytics guys laid it out, he should be a contributor on an NBA roster.’’

Assuming he would go between picks 25-40, the Knicks were surprised he dropped as far as he did and didn’t wait to scoop him up before another team realized his potential. As a productive scorer, averaging 14.8 points, 0.8 assists, 0.7 blocks, and 4.3 defensive rebounds per game, Brazdeikis will play a part in the Knicks’ plan this upcoming season, but I anticipate he will require a year of NBA experience to unlock his potential.