Monday, December 31, 2007

Ty Lawson - NBA Draft Prospects

Numbers: 12.7 ppg, 5.2 apg, 2.7 rpg, 1.6 spg, 2.2 t/o's, 52% FG, 84% FT, 36% 3's

About Him: Ty Lawson may be the quickest guy in all of college basketball. There is no one in the country that can stay in front of him in transition. He is a phenomenal ball handler with great body control and the ability to weave through defenders in the open floor. He is quick enough to turn a made basket into a break. UNC's offense was so much more potent with him in the line-up than when he missed a few weeks with the sprained ankle. And he does more than just lead the break and find people (which he is very good at). He can take it coast to coast and finish in the paint with anyone (according to Draft Express, he made 72% of his shots at the rim. That's more than OJ Mayo, Jerryd Bayless, Derrick Rose, DJ Augustin, Darren Collinson, or Eric Gordon). He is strong and built like a full back, which helps him clear space, and he is so quick off the bounce that normally gets a good step and a half past his defender and beats the help side rotation. With how good he is in transition, he still struggles in the half court. He has no mid-range game to speak of, and while he can make three's, his release is slow and low, meaning that he rarely has time to get it off. He isn't as good at beating people in the half court as he is when he has a head of steam, but he can still get to the rim. The problem is that in the half court, he has a tendency to hold onto the ball and the offense stagnates (although this could just be a result of UNC focusing on playing in transition). Defensively, he could be very good with the quickness of his hands and feet and his anticipation, but he tends to get lazy, like most of the UNC team. He is strong enough to battle with bigger point guards, but his height is going to be a problem because NBA points will be able to shoot over him.

Comparisons: TJ Ford (but stronger), Jamaal Tinsley (but not crazy), Raymond Felton (minus the J)

Bottom Line: Lawson, more than just about anyone in the draft, needs to land in the right system. If he gets drafted by a team that likes to run, he could slide right in and have a productive career. Look for him to land somewhere near the end of the first and start of the second round.

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