Ignas Brazdeikis – more commonly referred to as “Iggy” – comes into this year’s NBA draft with a lot of confidence.
“I’m always humble, but at the same time I’m very confident,” Brazdeikis told Basketball Insiders at the 2019 NBA Draft Combine.
And why shouldn’t he be confident?
The former Michigan freshman set a school record with four Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards and was added to the late-season John Wooden award top-20 watchlist. He averaged 14.8 points and 5.4 rebounds, shooting 46.2 percent from the field and a highly-respectable 39.2 percent from three.
Iggy stands tall at 6-foot-7 and isn’t pulled back by his length, boasting a wingspan of 6-foot-9. He clearly has a knack for shooting, but his lack of lateral quickness could hurt him defensively. He has a knack for getting buckets, which definitely showed as he led the Wolverines as a freshman in scoring. His ability to create his shown is something that is certainly coveted in today’s NBA and will not go overlooked during the draft process.
Iggy is currently slated as a second-round talent, likely due to the questions surrounding him on the defensive end of the court. As a three, he is already smaller than most other small forwards in the league, and his length – although good – isn’t elite enough to keep him in front of quicker players.
When asked what factors play into whether or not he returns to Michigan or stays in the draft, he responded: “My intent was to stay in all along, we’ll see how it goes, but that’s definitely what I’m leaning towards right now. I feel like with the opportunity I’m given I can make a lot of knows…I think I’m ready for the next step.”
He made it official a few days after the Combine that he will remain in the draft.
While scouts remain skeptical on Iggy’s ability to defend, he had other things to say.
“I’m athletic enough to defend, I have the perimeter skills to play as a guard, to guard multiple positions, I feel like I’m a positionless player,” Brazdeikis said.
When asked about the conversations he’d been having with other teams, talk shifted to things they were telling him he should work on.
“Making the right and simple play is the biggest thing for me and the biggest jump in my game,” Brazdeikis said. “Making the right read is what I’m working on now.”
This was certainly something you noticed if you watched Brazdeikis play at Michigan. He has a strong frame and is definitely athletic enough to get to the rim, but often times he would try and force things – usually ending in a turnover or missed opportunity elsewhere on the court.
Iggy was not afraid of the spotlight as his freshman season progressed. He led the team in scoring with 15.7 points per game on their way to a second place finish in the Big Ten tournament. The Wolverines finished their March Madness run with an exit to the eventual tournament runner-up – Texas Tech – in the Sweet Sixteen. Ignas finished his final game with Michigan with 17 points and career-high 13 rebounds.
As previously mentioned, there is a lot to like about his game. On the flip side, there are a handful of things he needs to work on. But as he mentioned during the interview, he is aware of that.
One thing Ignas does not lack is confidence. Draymond Green – one of the better second-round draft choices in recent memory – can likely attest to the fact that confidence is key in being successful.
Ignas – just like Draymond – will likely end up as some team’s second choice off the board. If he can harness his confidence, and combine it with his skill set and specific abilities, that will keep him in the NBA for many years to come.
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