|Junior||6’9″ 235||Kansas||PF/C||21 Yrs. Old|
|19.4 ppg||10.3 rpg||1.7 apg||FG: 49%||3 PT: 39.3%|
NBA Comparison: Kyle O’Quinn
Strengths: Outside Shooting, Inside Scoring, Rebounding
Weaknesses: Quickness, Agility, Athleticism, Size
Lawson began his college years playing at Memphis after being a McDonald’s All American in high school. As a freshman he put up solid numbers averaging 15.8 points and 9.3 rebounds before putting up 19.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per game as a sophomore. Following that season he elected to transfer to Kansas where he had to sit out a season due to the NCAA transfer rules. This past season, Lawson continued his strong play averaging 19.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game against the increased competition. In all three years he has played, his ability to hit the outside shot has been impressive with his best season coming as a junior shooting the ball at 39.3% on 2.5 attempts per contest. This aspect of his game will be a key to whether or not he sticks in the league as a power forward, which will be the easiest transition for him position wise. He has a variety of moves that he uses around the basket, whether it is a spin move or just slipping through open gaps using his basketball IQ. When facing up, Lawson can put the ball on the floor before making a move to get to the basket, or hit a mid-range jump shot. Rebounding the ball is a strength and something that he has been able to do since stepping onto campus at Memphis as a freshman. Considering his lack of NBA athleticism, it will be much tougher to rebound at the high level he has in college, but he has been one of the most effective players in country at pulling down boards.
Despite the positive outlook on many of his skills, there is a reason with the production he has put up that he is not considered a top draft prospect. Lacking lateral quickness and agility will make it much harder on both ends of the floor with the increased talent level in the league. He did show some good signs of being able to defend, averaging 1.1 blocks and 1.3 steals per game as a junior, although he would have blocked more shots if his athleticism was at a higher level. Not being an explosive athlete playing at both the power forward and center positions where many elite jumpers are at the next level, causes some serious concerns on his ability to compete. Will he be able to rebound and score inside against bigger and more athletic players? Only time will tell, but there is not a strong history of similar players being able to replicate their college success. While the NBA has basically become a position less league at this point, it could be tough for him to find a role considering he is basically a center in a power forwards body. If he were more athletic this would be easier to overlook, however what role he is able to fill will be essential to his professional production. One thing to note is that Lawson plays with a serious chip on his shoulder, believing that he has been overlooked every step of the way throughout his basketball career. That is a little bit of a stretch with him being a Mcdonald’s All American coming out of high school, but there is definitely a sentiment that he will not be able to make it in the NBA, and Lawson welcomes the doubters.
These plays give you an idea his ability to make plays when trailing:
Dedric Lawson trailer playmaking: pic.twitter.com/WH1nDgp3fw— Jordan Sperber (@hoopvision68) March 4, 2019
Some sites have Lawson going in the late second round, while others have him going undrafted. We have had him going in the late second round at times during the season, in addition to being undrafted. Considering he has every intention of staying in the draft this year, the pre-draft process will be huge for Lawson to improve his stock. Whether or not he ends up being drafted will depend on what the teams in the late second round are looking for. Simply put, if a team feels they need a big man that can stretch the floor then he will be in the conversation for the last 10 or so picks, but it is just as likely that he is passed over and signed as an undrafted free agent. The ceiling for Lawson as a professional is a back up big man that can come into the game and provide solid scoring and defense. The worst case scenario is that he is unable to overcome his lack of athleticism, and cannot score or defend at the level needed to stick in the league, ending up playing overseas or the G League.