Former NCAA Champion Casts Massive Doubts on the Future of Luka Garza in the NBA

Published 03/20/2021, 1:00 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MARCH 13: Iowa Hawkeyes center Luka Garza (55) dribbles up the court during the men’s Big Ten tournament college basketball game between the Illinois Fighting Illini and Iowa Hawkeyes on March 13, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


Luka Garza may be the best player in college basketball this season. However, that doesn’t necessarily say anything for how his career would be in the long-term. Being the best in the NCAA and being even half good in the NBA is a big challenge, and ESPN Analyst Jay Williams doesn’t believe Garza will transition well to the NBA.

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He first compared his college game to all-star Nikola Vucevic. “Luka Garza. National player of the year. 6’11, 265 pounds and can move averaging 24 points, 9 rebounds. Shooting 40% from the three-point line. NBA comp? Why are you going to like watching him? He’s a poor man’s college version of Nikola Vucevic.”

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However, Williams then proclaimed that his NBA career may be a failure. “Vucevic is his college comp. His NBA comp? Kevin Pitsnoggle… Luka Garza is a dominant college basketball player, but I don’t think his game translates to the size and the pace of the way the NBA plays.”

Garza is currently projected to be the 47th best available player in the 2021 NBA Draft, which sets him with a draft range of early to middle second round. That is quite low for a potential Naismith award winner, but we have seen former national players like Jalen Brunson be drafted in the second round.

Luka Garza: Can he prove the doubters wrong?

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IOWA CITY IA. – JANUARY 22: Iowa forward Luka Garza (55) is congratulated by teammates during a. Big Ten Conference basketball game between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the. Iowa Hawkeyes at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, on January 22, 2020. Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The reasons behind Luka Garza being lowly ranked for the 2021 NBA Draft is quite solid. Despite being a scoring machine, he may not have the mobility for the NBA game. Garza moves slower than most players. While in the NCAA he can dominate at that pace, he will have a hard time playing like that in the NBA.

However, similar concerns were made of a 7-footer like this in Nikola Jokic, who went in the second round and has proven his worth. While not every player develops like that, there is a chance that Garza develops like that.

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The prevailing belief is that Garza will not be able to transition into the NBA as top stars like Cade Cunningham and Jalen Suggs will. But with his work ethic and experience, he may have a fruitful NBA career as well.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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