The 2021 NBA draft will take place Thursday, July 29 with the Detroit Pistons holding the No. 1 pick. The Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic round out the top five selections.
We take a look at some of the prospects available in this draft, gauge their strengths, weaknesses, NBA comparisons and best landing spot within the player’s projected draft range. Here’s a breakdown for Iowa forward Luka Garza.
Garza is an offensive mastermind and can score from anywhere on the floor. He’s able to create his own shot and makes tough baskets. He’s able to use his size and strength to get to the hoop as well. His rebounding numbers are great, even if it’s due largely to his height.
He lacks speed and elite athleticism and is never going to be a strong defensive contributor. Garza didn’t have to do much as a playmaker or distributor at Iowa, but he’ll have to get better at that aspect of his game in the NBA. The development curve isn’t appealing. Garza improved every season at Iowa, but he’s going to enter the league at 22.
Garza has reportedly slimmed down at the NBA combine, a sign he could play more along the perimeter with potentially improved speed. Danilo Gallinari is an apt player comparison for him at the moment, but you never know with big men who can shoot. Garza also has shades of LaMarcus Aldridge in him offensively, but will likely never match the big man’s defensive ability.
Best Landing Spot
Garza is expected to be available deep into the first round and maybe even the early second. His shooting ability as a big man makes him valuable and if he can play at small forward, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for his long-term outlook. The Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz could use someone like Garza off the bench immediately. Both franchises also have a good track record with developing players.