1. An extraordinary 30 points
The New York Knicks traded up for Ignas Brazdeikis in the 2019 NBA Draft, from No. 55 to 47, with $1 million attached. Why this price for a player in the back half of the second round, when so many of these talents strike out?
In summer league’s first night, Brazdeikis had just five points on 2-for-8 shooting. He was energetic, but the results did not follow.
Well, in the follow-up performance, the one-and-done Wolverine had 30 points, eight rebounds and two assists on 11-for-19 shooting and 3-for-6 on three-pointers. He started in place of Trier, who sat out with an illness.
Again, summer league’s value varies for each player. Barrett is young and can work through the woes. Wooten, without a guaranteed contract, is succeeding in an opportunity.
For Brazdeikis, like Barrett, he has a guaranteed salary to take a roster spot, but it does not mean he has little to prove, especially to work through a crowded roster. Huge nights like Sunday will put him on the map, before training camp, for head coach David Fizdale, when the inevitable rotation battles start.
Fizdale also placed no limitations on the non-first-round picks in 2018, as Robinson and Trier took significant roles.
It was only one night for Brazdeikis, but if he closes summer league strong, he will become a name to watch at training camp and to see what his role is in Year Two of the rebuild.