New York Knicks: What does Michigan’s Ignas Brazdeikis bring to the team?

New York Knicks, Michigan Wolverines, Ignas Brazdeikis

The New York Knicks were keen on bringing in swingman style players this year during the draft, selecting Duke’s RJ Barrett and Ignas Brazdeikis from Michigan.

The Knicks traded up from 55 to 47, swapping with Sacramento for cash considerations. The lefty, who spent just one season with Michigan, started all 37 games for the Wolverines, shooting 39.2 percent from behind the arc and averaged a team-high 14.8 points.

The New York Knicks gained a true competitor:

The Lithuanian impressed in his only college season, proving he’s a capable and athletic scorer. He will add a different dimension to the Knicks – imagine a more athletic Steve Novak.

“He’s a hard-nosed, tough guy who drives fearlessly, can make a jumper but a little undersized for a 4,’’ NBA consultant to basketball operations Chris Ekstrand said, according to the New York Post. “He’ll be combo forward, and it will depend on matchups.”

Getting a high-percentage three-point shooter involved in the offense will help the overall scoring production of the team, he’s a bit small for a forward but will be utilized to expose key matchups.

The 6-foot-8 winger has the physicality to compete in the paint at the NBA level, however, he will need to refine his abilities and adapt to the strength of professional players. A high basketball IQ accompanies the 20-year-old. His craftiness around the hoop will allow him to assist his teammates and provide a safety net.

Brazdeikis is mostly a strict scorer, averaging just 0.8 assists. He’s a 77% free throw shooter as well, above the average in the NBA. It will be interesting to see how the Knicks utilize him in their scheme and what role he will play in his rookie season.

Michigan State Wins Against Top 10, rival Michigan

Before we dive into this game, let’s explain how Big Ten basketball is going to work on this site for the rest of the season. Longer write-ups of the best games will be posted, not short blurbs for each game. Come the conference tournament, we will break down each game, as well as every NCAA Tournament game with a Big Ten team. Empire Sports Media is lacking a lot of Big Ten coverage, and especially on the basketball side. If you are interested in writing for the site, click here.

On Sunday, Michigan State went on the road to face cross-state rival Michigan and got it done in hostile territory, 77-70. Michigan State moved up to 23-5 (14-3 B1G), and Michigan dropped down to 24-4 (13-4 B1G).

The game may of proved to be a big swing in the projected NCAA Tournament bracket, Michigan possibly dropping to a three seed while Michigan State may of moved up to a two seed.

Cassius Winston had a monster night for the Spartans, scoring 27 points and dropping eight dimes. Big fella Kenny Goins had a nice 16 point, 11 rebound double-double and Xavier Tillman added 14 points and five rebounds. Senior captain Matt McQuaid added 13 points and five rebounds.

Michigan State had a seven point lead at one point in the first half that quickly diminished from three-pointers from Zavier Simpson and Ignas Brazdeikis, as well as a Jordan Poole layup.

Simpson played all 40 minutes and led Michigan with 19 points. Brazdeikis had 16 points and nine rebounds, and Poole added 15 points. Jon teske also had a 10 point, 11 rebound double-double, along with a block.

Overall, the first half stayed pretty close, and Michigan State went into the intermission with a 39-37 lead.

it remained close in the first 10 minutes of the second half, too. But then Michigan seemed to run out of steam. Cassius Winston and Kenny Goins each hit jumpers, Tillman hit a layup, Aaron Henry had two free-throws, Cassius Winston had another two, and Tillman threw one down. In that five or so minute span, Michigan only had four points and Michigan State had a seven point lead.

Michigan couldn’t really recover, and had trouble denting into the lead late, but Jordan Poole did hit a three with 33 second left to make it a four point game. But that didn’t matter, Cassius Winston was in the midst of seven straight free-throws, and hit four of them in the last 33 seconds. Kenny Goins also went 1-of-2 from the line, and Zavier Simpson hit a meaningless layup for Michigan with eight seconds left.

Michigan State shot 50 percent on the night, compared to just 40 percent for Michigan. But, Michigan had four more offensive rebounds than Michigan State, leading to second chance points.

Michigan had more fouls and turnovers than Michigan State, as well as outrebounded by two.