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