NCAAB Profiles: Luka Garza

Luka Garza has been a rising star since his basketball beginnings at Maret School Washington, D.C. He spent 4 years playing for the Iowa Hawkeyes before getting drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 2021. 

Watching Fanduel’s College Basketball odds go up and down during that last season was enough to see that his place in the NBA was questioned. Still, from looking at his profile below, you can see that the doubts weren’t all valid. Garza was a powerhouse in college and expects to bring that same energy to the NBA.

 

Luka Garza’s History

Garza started his basketball career after his father (a former Idaho player) encouraged his passion. It wasn’t until his sophomore year at Maret that Garza finally dunked a ball, and with that seal broken, he managed to increase his scoring average to 24.6 ppg in his senior year.

With growing skill, Garza was recruited by a number of power conference schools, including Notre Dame, Georgia, and Georgetown, but in the end, Garza picked Iowa.

It was in Iowa City that Garza found his feet and his fame. He was instantly recognized as a talented player scoring 16 points in his first game against Chicago State. In total, his freshmen year gave Garza an average of 12.1 points per game.

His sophomore year wasn’t as friendly, as unfortunately, Garza found a cyst in his spleen and needed surgery to remove it. To make matters worse, his recovery was dampened by a sprained ankle.

Although Garza couldn’t play as much as he wanted, he still managed to grow his stats to 13.1 points per game and was given an honorable mention in the All Big Ten.

After his junior year, Luka considered making the jump to the NBA, but this was the same season as the COVID-19 outbreak so he later withdrew his name to stay at Iowa one more year. That turned out to be a good decision, though, as Garza won the Oscar Robertson Trophy, the Wooden Award, and the Naismith Trophy and the nation’s best player. He was also named Big Ten Player of the Year after averaging 24.1 points per game. 

Garza’s time in college basketball was truly phenomenal.

 

Luka Garza’s Strengths

Luka’s main skill lies in his low-post scoring. No matter who he has gone up against so far in his career, none have been able to block his low-post technique. In fact, technique is something that Garza has mastered. He can make you dizzy with his baby hook or make you spin with the up and under move. 

His tightly controlled footwork means that Garza can almost dance around the court, whizzing past everyone in his path. With more skill in his arms than his senior year in college, Luka is now able to successfully pass a ball out of double teams to give his teammates an opportunity.

Another new achievement for Garza is his three-point shots. He can now boast that 44% of his shots from the 3 point line have been successful.

All of these strengths show just why the Detroit Pistons made a great choice in picking this star team member.

 

Luka Garza’s Weaknesses 

Garza’s biggest weakness so far comes from his inability to defend. He is a quick mover. In fact, he moves so fast that Garza often finds it hard to change directions or leap to grab an accidental drop.

This then leads to a problem around dribbling. Faster defenders who can maneuver around the court are more likely to swipe the ball from Garza’s hand. Because of this, Garza has to rely on his speed to make sure no one catches up to him on route to the basket.

Garza is also an incapable blocker. If he tries to defend his team’s basket from attack, Garza will likely not react fast enough. In fact, Garza has the worst leap in 2021 public records, coming in at 29.5 inches for his maximum jumps.

 

Summary

In total, Garza was an outstanding college player but has struggled in the NBA. He can make amazing shots, has exceptional speed and superb technique. However, without the power of defense by his side, Garza is an easy target.

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