CBB Today has been giving you a different 2019 NBA Draft sleeper each week and why should this week be any different? This week’s sleeper is Michigan Wolverines forward Ignas Brazdeikis. If you’ve watched an episode of Posting Up with Ben Bornstein, then you know I happen to like this kid a lot.
The 6-foot-7, 215-pound freshman not only has a great movie villain name, but he’s been playing quite well for the Wolverines. The former four-star recruit is making a strong case to go one-and-done for coach John Beilein. He’s projected by most as a second-round pick right now, although he has been slowly making a case to go earlier than that come June.
Here are some of his important stats to know:
- 17 PPG, 1.2 APG, 5.2 RPG
- 51.9 FG%, 38.7 3P%, 81.4 FT%
- 130.1 ORtg, 85.5 DRtg
Brazdeikis is already earning heavy minutes from Michigan, averaging about 29 minutes a game. That’s largely thanks to his playmaking skill as a wing player and ability to shoot the ball. He’s shown he can create his own shot off the dribble (as UNC found out earlier this season) and finishes well around the rim to boot. Brazdeikis is clearly a good three-point shooter, as those percentages mentioned above come in relative volume, with the youngster attempting over three from the perimeter per game.
The young man was born in Lithuania and played his high school ball in Canada. He made a name for himself playing for Team Canada in a couple of FIBA tournaments alongside R.J. Barrett. Now he’s making his own way in the college ranks with his few breakout performances already and flashy play.
He’s also played some solid defense and has been good rebounding at his position. Those are two translatable skills, and the stuff forever wanted at the NBA level. He has a really nice feel for the game and is a smart player. Brazdeikis scores well off the dribble and on the move. He throws some people off as he’s a natural righty, but shoots left-handed in the game.
A few knocks against “Iggy” are that his wingspan isn’t as long as people would like — it’s about the same as his height — nor is he as athletic as he needs to be in order to defend at the next level. Unfortunately, he will likely be too slow to defend some guys on the perimeter in the NBA. He lacks an elite first step off the dribble and can be reluctant to shoot jumpers, but both of those things can be worked on with a trainer in the offseason.
All in all, Ignas Brazdeikis should be a nice option in the 2019 NBA Draft and could turn out to be a sweet surprise if someone is lucky enough to nab him some time in the second round. There is an outside shot at him climbing to the first round, but he’s going to have break out some superb performances once the Wolverines get into Big Ten play in January.
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