New York Knicks: Introducing second-round draft pick Ignas Brazdeikis

NBA Draft Charles Matthews Jordan Poole (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
NBA Draft Charles Matthews Jordan Poole (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Taking a closer look and giving second-round New York Knicks draft pick Ignas Brazdeikis a proper introduction

The New York Knicks originally held pick No. 55 in the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft but traded up to snag a prospect they simply could not overlook. Striking a deal with the Sacramento Kings, the Knicks sent their selection along with cash considerations to Sacramento in exchange for the No. 47 pick, taking Ignas Brazdeikis out of the University of Michigan.

Born in Kaunas, Lithuania, Brazdeikis and his family immigrated to Chicago, then Winnipeg. Etobicoke, before finally settling in Oakville, Ontario. All this moving around left Brazdeikis without any real relationships with others, always being seen as the “new kid on the block.”

However, he channeled this feeling of isolation through basketball, falling in love with the game as early as six-years-old and practicing every day for hours in hopes that someday, people would remember his name.

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Mission accomplished.

A standout high school player at Orangeville Prep, Ignas quickly garnered interest from top-tier schools like Vanderbilt, Florida, and Michigan. He eventually committed to UMich under the advisement of his mentor Nik Stauskas, who also donned maize and blue during his illustrious college career.

He never looked back. In his first and only season in the NCAA, Brazdeikis averaged 14.8 points (team-leading), 5.4 rebounds, and 0.7 steals while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from downtown. His incredible performance earned him the Big Ten Freshman of the Year Award, along with being named to the All-Big 10 second-team and an honorable mention for AP All-American.

Craftiness and versatility are the two words that come to mind when describing Iggy. He is a slasher, capable of taking his man off the dribble and putting together several fancy dribble moves to make his way to the basket.

A 6-foot-7, 220 lbs frame is not typical for someone who possesses the level of ball-handling skills that Iggy has. He can be used in the pick-and-roll as either the screener or the dribbler, can roll to the basket or pop out for an open 3, and can spread the floor on offense to create opportunities for his teammates. His vertical leap is also impressive, allowing him to rise and dunk on defenders without regard for contact.

Finally, the Knicks make a good decision, as Iggy could not be a better fit for the organization.

He has a “New York attitude.” If you have ever seen him in action, the 20-year-old plays with a chip on his shoulder and lets anyone who opposes him know that he fears no one.

"[via NYDN]“I’m a relentless player, I don’t fear anyone or anything. I don’t back down from anyone, either,” said Brazdeikis. “I’m very confident in myself and my abilities as well. I go as hard as I can every single game. I do whatever it takes to help the team win. I’m aggressive. I feel like I know who I am as a basketball player.”"

He feeds off the crowd’s energy, something abundant in Madison Square Garden. One of his favorite parts of the game is being able to silence the crowd, embracing his role as the “villain” to opposing fans. Ignas embodies confidence in every sense of the term. When he isn’t flexing at the spectators, he is throwing up money signs to taunt them.

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He will form quite the tandem with RJ Barrett as both players are Canadian and looking to represent their country with pride. While the Michigan product won’t start high on the team’s depth chart, you can expect the forward to earn an uptick in minutes as the 2020 season progresses.

Slowly but surely, the New York Knicks are putting together a team to build around for years to come.