At Iowa, Luka Garza re-wrote the record books. He'll go down as one of the most prolific offensive threats of all-time in the college game, deservingly winning TWO National POY awards and having his jersey raised to the rafters during his Senior season.
The game just doesn't translate to the modern NBA. At Iowa, he could impose his will on the game by playing at his pace, getting the ball on the block and out-muscling guys on a nightly basis. Even if the strength and low post acumen translates to the next level against bigger, stronger, faster defenders, it isn't a sought-after trait. NBA teams don't play through the post-up anymore, a shot that has lost ground to the 3-pointer and spread-the-floor concepts that encourage higher-efficiency shots.
As a result, Garza is in a tough spot as a prospect. He's too old, towards his max potential and poor on defense to completely morph his game into something different. But he's also too skilled and impactful to be written off completely.
In my book, Garza is barely a top-100 guy on the draft board. His defense really is that bad, and instantly would become the worst defensive 5-man in the NBA. He can't move laterally, isn't impactful as a rim protector and just doesn't have the athleticism to keep up.
His role in his career would be that of Enes Kanter, a big man who plays super grounded and relies on high usage and soft touch around the rim. Kanter has been played off the floor in postseason series before, a bit of a journeyman who is productive on a per-minute basis offensively but gets attacked every time down the floor. The difference between the two from a skill perspective: Garza has a reliable pick-and-pop jumper. Shooting 50% from 3, in itself, should give faith that there's some modernity to his game and upside to be found.
Kanter does have one advantage when it comes to the comparison: he came into the league at a time when post-ups were widely used. Through that time, he was able to prove that his skill level was elite there. Garza would come in still needing to prove that he can score efficiently enough down low to deserve the role. That's a pretty large risk to take. Kanter was three years younger when drafted than Garza, too.
The defensive concerns are not to be undersold. Garza doesn't have much of a role to stop anybody at the next level. His whole mentality has already been built on outscoring people, not stopping them. NBA-level guard play would tear him apart.
It might be best for Garza to play in Europe and carve out a meaningful career for himself. I wouldn't be shocked if he directly goes that route and signs with a team before the draft. Either way, his career's best spots are not found in the National Basketball Association. I'd be surprised if he's drafted, to be frank.