Knicks Fanatics

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Fanatics Pre-Draft Scouting Report Series: Tywon Lawson

Knicks Fanatics, here is the first of your detailed pre-draft reports.

This is the first of at least ten reports on potential draft picks.  The series will focus on the top point/combo guards which are being considered as possible draft picks for the Knicks at the 8th spot.  At least ten guards, including Rick Rubio, Ty Lawson, Stephen Curry and Brandon Jennings, have received consideration by the blogosphere analysts and top mock drafts. We will look at them very closely and consider other scouting reports as we attempt to engage in the difficult task of determining the right draft pick for the Knicks this year.

Each report will contain my summary of the player and whether, IMHO, he fits out needs at this time.  This will be followed by excerpts of scouting reports from others who have watched the player with an emphasis on the player’s weaknesses.  The report will conclude with several videos of the player.  I recognize that most of these videos are highlights, but if you look closely at each video and find the tendencies in the highlights you can get an idea of most player’s strengths and weaknesses.

I have found that opinions vary greatly amongst analyst about the prospects of a single player and from time to time analysts are contradictory.   You will also find that views will change as the prospects participate in the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago from May 27th to 31st and individual team workouts prior to the draft.   At the Combines and individual workouts, team executives will begin to see players first hand and collect more accurate measurement data regarding body size, height, length, speed, vertical jump etc.  Players will also be matched up against each other one-on-on so that executives get a better comparison.  Already our visual information is slightly dated since players have been training  (conditioning, skill improvement and in some cases eating to add weight) in preparation for the Chicago meat market.

Finally. if you have any suggestions regarding how this report can be more helpful, please feel free to comment.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Ty Lawson Vitals:

Ty Lawson6’0″ 195 lbs.

53.2 % FG%,  47.2 3PT%,  79.8 FT%,

16.6ppg, 6.6 apg , 2.1 spg, 3.0 rpg.


igm-gravatar-copy IGM SUMMARY

Ty Lawson is one of my favorite players in this draft.  If he were not so small with such a short wingspan, he would be a no brainer.  The video tapes from high school to the 2009 NCAA Championship tell the story about this guys skills.   He’s got skills and would be an excellent floor general for a team like the Knicks.

The biggest fear about drafting Lawson is that he may not be able to compensate for his size in the NBA.  I am a firm believer that size can be overcome by certain players and I think Ty Lawson is one of them.

First of all, Ty is a scorer who will be very difficult to defend in the NBA because of his speed and ability to put the ball in the basket from different spots on the floor and at different speeds.  He can create his own shots with accuracy. He can shoot a pull-up from the three point line and loft a tear-drop from under the basket.  He can hit a fifteen-footer and he can drive and score off his own dribble.  Very significantly, he knows how to use the backboard (usually on drives) to put the ball in the hole which makes him even more dangerous from any spot.  Second, and this is no joke, at 195 lbs, he  can handle the physicality in the paint and on the perimeter.  He can drive and still score with a body on him.  His free throw percentage is 79.8%, so you would hope that he could practice his way to better shooting from the charity line; still he is a three pointer waiting to happen on the drive (by land) and from the arc (by air).  Third, he has a handle that matches his footwork.  Check out his mean crossover and his ability to pass off the dribble — he can throw a bounce pass, pin-point, on the run as well as he can throw a lob.  No joke.

Most of the mock drafts do not rank him high.   Despite leading his team to the NCAA Championship, he is considered not to be as promising as 4-6 other guards in this draft.   But when you look at him, you must ask yourself a few questions and reconsider his draft position:  How do you guard him?  How many guards can control the tempo of the game and score and pass?  How do you like his court vision?  Can he handle the physicality of the game, particularly in the playoffs?  Does he have leadership qualities? Does he have championship heart?

For the Knicks, I rank him higher than I do Brandon Jennings who has great upside but will be a major project and less likely to succeed in a variety of circumstances (i.e. different teams) without great mentorship and an attentive program.  Ty is different from Stephon Curry in that he can control the tempo of the game and handle the physicality which Curry probably will not be able to do in the NBA, at least until he becomes stronger. Ty is a true point and has grown up as a point guard with a pass-score mentality.

Imagine Ty Lawson in the following lineup in 2009

  • Ty Lawson
  • Chris Duhon
  • Wilson Chandler
  • Danillo Galinari
  • David Lee

I’m not sure that the Knicks need both Nate Robinson and Ty Lawson due to their height (with Lawson more like 5’11” w/o heels) but as much as I love Nate Robinson and his development, Nate is a scorer, but not a natural distributor.   Where Nate, who operates well at one speed, changes the pace of a game, Lawson, a true point, can control the pace of the game for longer periods.  I have no idea whether Lawson is as unstoppable in the endgame as Nate is.  Probably not. Still, if you need someone to run your team, Lawson is  a better and cheaper fit.

Outside Scouting Reports

Below are selected portions of reputable scouting reports.  For Ty Lawson, we have included his weaknesses according to NBA Draft.Net analysts and an situational analysis by Draft Express.  We can observe first hand most of his strengths in the videos provided in this report.

NBA DRAFT.NET ANALYSIS

Borko Popic – 5/21/2008

Weaknesses: The greatest concerns are his height and subpar length, because of them, he not only has problems finishing around the rim but also struggles to get shots off against taller defenders Although his shot has gotten better (15% increase in ft shooting) his mechanics are still very flawed- he has not changed his release point, continuing to shoot the ball from his chin His follow through is very inconsistent and he tends to push the ball out as if shooting a teardrop A less than formidable jump shot combined with his short frame will substantially hurt his ability to operate in a half court set In the pick & roll oriented NBA, teams will go under screens daring him to shoot, and if he cant become a dependable knock down shooter, his role may only be as a change of pace guard off the bench Another question mark is his durability, as he suffered a sprained ankle in mid-season and never regained his form He has also not logged major minutes in college (25.5 mins/gm) which could be a result of a less than adequate motor or simply due to the depth of the team Even though he has great tools to be a pesky defender, his focus on that end has been sporadic at best: he seems lackadaisical and loses track of his assignment with regularity He has a bad habit of playing defense with his hands down, which does not bode well because with his short frame, people can shoot over him with ease

Aran Smith – 9/4/2007

Weaknesses: Despite a good feel for the point guard position, he still has a ways to go learning the nuances of the position. But he is in a tremendous situation playing for a premiere talent developer (Roy Williams) at one of the most prestigious basketball schools in the country … Size is a concern for him as he is around 6-0 and despite his great athletic ability, he struggles to get shots off against bigger opponents … Will also struggle some defensively as he is a post up/match up problem against tall points … Lacks great length with short arms and doesn’t have a high release point on his shot … His offensive game is still developing, but he appears to be a better spot up shooter than shooting off the dribble … Can get wild at times, but overall had a solid A/TO ratio …

Notes: Came into North Carolina as the top rated point guard in his high school class which included Mike Conley Jr. and Javaris Crittenton … Considered the top point guard to play at prestigious Oak Hill Academy by his HS coach Steve Smith …

Draft Express Situation Analysis

Ty Lawson looks as good as anyone from this perspective, regardless of position.

As we put this data together, we weren’t surprised that Ty Lawson excelled from a situational perspective, as he did play for the most potent offense in all of college basketball, but we didn’t expect him to look this good. He ranks first in a number of key categories, including overall FG% (52%), Points Per Possession [PPP](1.13), pull up jump shot FG% (47%), and %shots he was fouled on (16.1%). Though his teammates did a lot of scoring as well, Lawson functioned seamlessly as a complementary scorer. Looking past his efficiency as a shooter off the dribble, he was second in catch and shoot field goal percentage at 48%. From a purely statistical sense, no player on this list scored more efficiently than Lawson.

We thought that UNC’s transition offense might have given Lawson a decided advantage over some of his counterparts in terms of efficiency, but that wasn’t entirely true. He did get 10% more offense in transition than any of the other players we looked at (an outrageous 38.6%), but his transition PPP of 1.2 is the same as his PPP in spot up situations and not as far above the average as his PPP in pick and roll situations (1.19 PPP, +.29) or on isolations (1 PPP, +.16). Lawson was an incredibly prolific transition player (which is quite an advantage in itself today’s NBA), but he was comparatively better in other areas as well. When you consider that he only turned the ball over on 13.8% of his half court possessions (5th best) and can drive left and right equally well, it seems like Lawson could be an excellent offensive fit on virtually any team, regardless of tempo.

Ty Lawson Video Section

Ty Lawson In High School

Ty Lawson at North Carolina

TY Lawson As A Champion

NEXT: STEPHEN CURRY

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May 23, 2009 - Posted by | Nate Robinson, NBA Draft | , , ,

9 Comments »

  1. IGM Knicks

    Thanks much for this incoming series of pre-draft scouting reports and the insight you are providing.

    Lives has been holding down the site spectacularly with bubble gum and chicken wire and your articles are very much welcome.

    I like Statesman am on board with Brandon Jennings and I would like to suggest the following…

    Where a fanatic is a particular fan/booster of a particular player scouted, that Fanatic might come up with an article or sub article that can be included in your well prepared pre draft assessments.

    This fanatics take can be done to add the local regional fan flavor and personal insights of the greater Fanatics family.

    I will prepare my defense and argument for Brandon Jennings when you churn out the pre-draft report on him.

    OBTW a real welcome to KnicksFanatics as any member becomes a member, LOL, when the gauntlet is thrown at them as are friend Statesman has thrown his gauntlet towards you.

    O&B

    Comment by orangeandblue1 | May 25, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks O&B.

      Lives advised that this is the place to be if you want to talk some serious ball. Been watching for a long time. (Plus a little editorial help from the Lively Alpha Dawg, Sr. doesn’t hurt.)

      Yes, I expected my initiation from Statesman1, 2 or 3 at some point. I cannot wait for his rationale behind Jennings.

      Great idea O&B. Just what I was hoping for — to initiate more Fanatic analysis as the likes of TMAN, PEACE, you, Lives and Post-Up Prince have been sharing knowledge on their view of the right pics.

      Your analysis of Jennings is absolutely welcome. I admit that I am having a hard time seeing him as the #2 guard in this NBA draft, but I am a very conservative businessman. I like the motto “Slow and Steady, wins the race.” (I think there was a Fanatic Pun in there).

      Maybe you can hook it up with Lives so that your analysis is included in my post. That would be great.

      Comment by igmknicks | May 25, 2009 | Reply

      • Slow and steady, LOL!

        I think that is one of Steady’s many catch phrases.

        Actually from what I’ve gathered in reading your two articles to date,… you do make very compelling arguments for both Ty and Stephen. They are certainly from what I’m gathering safer picks. If Walsh is measured and calculating he may very well go the safer route, so you are Peace might be very happy with the result of a Lawson or Curry on board.

        The way I would suggest the Fanatic take be structure would be that the writer- Peaceman for Curry me or States for Jennings etc, etc- Present a section on how: 1) their player fits the Knicks needs long or short term; 2) How the player can fit the current regimes playing style “system” and the NBA game in general should the system change or the Knicks have to play playoff ball; 3) Address the stated or speculated weaknesses of the player in question and how if at all those purported weaknesses are not dispositive of the players overall value as an acquisition by the Knicks.

        Comment by orangeandblue1 | May 25, 2009

  2. I should have Jennings done by tomorrow morning, if not a little earlier.

    Comment by igmknicks | May 25, 2009 | Reply

    • Look forward to it and will prepare my take for and defense of Jennings to accompany to your next article.

      Comment by orangeandblue1 | May 25, 2009 | Reply

  3. I like Lawson, but I think his lack of size will hurt him, especially for the Knicks who already have Nate. It would be a reach to take him at #8 in my opinion.

    Comment by TG | June 13, 2009 | Reply

  4. A Fanatic Welcome to TG. For those, not in the know, TG hails from his blog The Life of A Knicks Fan which we recently added to our blog roll. Nice blog. We look forward to your insights in the future.

    Comment by livesinnewjersey | June 13, 2009 | Reply

  5. TG I wholeheartedly agree with your take on lawson.

    I think either Flynn or Jennings would be a better choice.

    Curry’s shooting is great but does a great passer translate into a great point guard?

    When he was playing off the ball he led Davidson to the Sweet 16 as a point he could only advance to the NIT not the big stage of the NCAA.

    What does that say about his limits as a point guard? Is that his natural position or will he have to sacrifice to fit in to a 1 where he is really an undersized tweener 2/1?

    Comment by orangeandblue1 | June 13, 2009 | Reply

  6. Thanks for the add! I like the player previews! Good work, I will definately check back and reccommend the site on my page.

    Curry is a tweener, no doubt. I’m not sure whether his first NBA coach will play him at point or 2-guard, but it looks like his natural position is definately at the SG position – he is just undersized. I think the Knicks would play him at the 2 if we drafted him, and at #8 I think he will be BPA if still there.

    Comment by TG | June 14, 2009 | Reply


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