Ignas Brazdeikis: The Knicks’ biggest victim of a season on hold

No member of the New York Knicks is a bigger victim of the NBA season potentially being canceled than G League standout Ignas Brazdeikis.

As the entirety of the sports world knows, the remainder of the 2019-2020 NBA season was suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak. While the New York Knicks were far away from a potential playoff birth with a small number of games to go, there was a possible glimmer of hope that Knicks fans seem to have possibly forgotten about.

That is 2019 second-round draft pick and G-League star Ignas Brazdeikis.

On Mar. 23, Marc Berman of The New York Post reported that the Knicks were planning on giving Brazdeikis minutes as the season continued to draw to a close. In 24 games for the Westchester Knicks this year, the Lithuanian standout averaged 33.5 minutes and 20.9 points per game.

That placed him in the top 15 in the G-League.

Brazdeikis had already appeared in five NBA games, but it’s safe to deem those appearances meaningless. He averaged just 5.9 minutes during those games, and in 4 of those 5 matches, the Knicks lost by at least 24 points.

After trading veteran forward Marcus Morris Sr. to the Los Angeles Clippers at the trade deadline, spectators seemingly believed that ‘Iggy’ would fill some of the void, and collect some of the empty minutes at the small forward position.

Instead, it was newly acquired defensive specialist Maurice Harkless, as well as a combination of 3-and-D players Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock getting to play a little more.

Evidence has shown that this move has proven to be costly to the organization. For months, with one four-game winning streak being a small exception, the Knicks have been far removed from being an eight-seed contender.

As such, the idea of keeping the piping hot Michigan product away from the pros continues to be more and more perplexing.

It’s hard to believe, but Brazdeikis’ development has been one of few bright spots of the season for the orange and blue. New York’s biggest “prize” of free agency, Julius Randle, has put up good numbers, however, it doesn’t look like he’s able to mesh with the young core and establish a system of chemistry.

That’s the big headline when you talk about the 2019-2020 season for the Knicks.

It’s also difficult to look away from the possibility that seeing Brazdeikis at least play competitive basketball could’ve helped fans crack a smile as they watch their team lose more than they win for the seventh straight season.

At the end of the day, it was impossible for Scott Perry, Leon Rose, and co. to know that they were going to have to press pause on the season because of a worldwide pandemic. There’s a chance the Knicks get to play their remaining 15 games, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

For Ignas Brazdeikis’ case, I think he’s earned a chance to compete for a rotation spot to start the 2020-21 season.

There won’t be many, if any, big names to sign in free agency, even if the Knicks had close to as much money as the last offseason. Furthermore, it’s apparent they want to target a point guard in the upcoming draft.

While the New York Knicks lost a potential gain with the NBA’s suspension, it doesn’t mean they should halt any existing optimism.