Ignas Brazdeikis is the New York Knicks brash, confident Lithuanian-Canadian rookie

New York Knicks’ rookie Ignas Brazdeikis was drafted waaaaay after fellow Knicks rookie RJ Barrett, but none of that matters to the Lithuanian-born Canadian Brazdeikis.

If you followed the lefty forward during his one season with the University of Michigan Wolverines, you know that the 6-7 forward doesn’t lack for confidence. In fact, his confidence borders on arrogance.

“Every time I step on the floor, I feel I’m the best player,’’ Brazdeikis told reporters after a recent NBA Summer League game. “Yeah, my confidence never wavers. I’m always aggressive. I always make plays. It doesn’t matter what stage I’m on. To me it’s all the same. It’s just basketball.”

Some may bristle at those type of comments from a young player, but most all NBA players walk onto the floor confident and think they can not only contribute, but dominate. That’s because for the most part, NBA players have been one of the best players at every level they’ve played at, so you’d forgive Brazdeikis for being a little brash. His coaches don’t want to tamp that down either, they don’t want them to hesitate to shoot the shots they’re most comfortable with.

“Just be myself. Coach Fiz talked to me,” Ignas said, ‘You just gotta be yourself and no one else. Don’t be afraid to be aggressive. Don’t be afraid to make your plays. Do what you do.’ I really appreciated that. With that kind of freedom, I felt I had the ability to do what I did tonight.”

Brazdeikis’ Aggressiveness Pays Off

That aggressiveness, confidence and faith from the coaching staff allowed the 20 year old nicknamed “Iggy” to outshine fellow Canadian Barrett and have a spectacular performance in the first half vs. the Phoenix Suns in which we saw flashes of his versatility. Ignas dunked in traffic and hit a corner three. He ended the night with a game high 30 points in the Knicks’ 105-100 loss to the Suns at the Thomas and Mack center in Las Vegas.

This isn’t anything new either. Summer League coach Jud Buechler. The former NBA Champion has witnessed Brazdeikis’s great play since he arrived. “We’ve seen it all week in practice,’’ Buechler said. “I worked with him in LA. He’s a fighter, scrapper. Not afraid of anything, anyone. He’s going to be great.’’

“Brash-deikis” scored 15 first-half points, converting 6-of-7 shots and finished the game with 30 points on an impressive 11-of-19 shooting night along with 8 rebounds and 2 assists. You can watch his highlights here:

No wonder the Knicks put up $1 million to move up from No. 55 to No. 47 in the draft to grab Brazdeikis in the second round. “I’m just grateful to be a New York Knick,” Brazdeikis said in a moment of reflection. “I don’t want to go nowhere else. It’s a great spot.” Now if R.J. Barrett can step up for the Knicks too, it can help Knicks fans forget that the organization whiffed on Kawhi Leonard and lost out to the Brooklyn Nets on both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

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