It’s officially May, and that means it’s draft season for the folks in the NBA and dozens of draft hopefuls who will spend the next several weeks working to impress that one NBA scout, coach or GM just enough to get a shot at a pro career.
It won’t happen for all of them, of course. And several of them will return to college next season, a move that has become even easier to make under new rules that allow players to test the waters with help from an agent while maintaining their college eligibility.
With the NBA’s pre-draft combine slated for May 14-19 in Chicago, and a new G League prospect combine on the books for May 12-14 in The Windy City, the next few weeks will be key for all kinds of college players hoping to turn pro.
Included on that list, of course, are four Jayhawks — Dedric Lawson, Quentin Grimes, Devon Dotson and Silvio De Sousa — and several other notable names.
With that in mind, I recently caught up with an NBA scout who works for a team in the Eastern Conference to discuss his franchise’s breakdown of those four Jayhawks and their chances in the June 20 draft in New York City.
The scout shared the information on the condition that neither he nor the team would be identified so he could provide a thorough look at strengths, weaknesses, areas each player needs to work on most and their outlook for the next couple of months.
Former Kansas guard Lagerald Vick was in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday, participating in a pre-draft workout with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.
And we’ll keep the series going with a look at the Jayhawk most likely to get drafted, junior forward Dedric Lawson.
According to the scout, Lawson’s current draft range sits in the 35-50 range. That’s solidly in the second round, with a chance to go in the first five or so picks of Round 2.
A good showing at the combine, or during individual workouts with NBA teams, could boost Lawson’s stock, but, according to the scout, it would take a pretty monster effort to move him into the first round.
When asked about Lawson’s weaknesses, the scout broke down his analysis into offense and defense.
First, the good stuff.
The way the scout sees it, there are plenty of things to like about Lawson’s game.
• Possesses great skill and has all the footwork necessary to get off any shot he wants in the paint. The scout dubbed Lawson a “slightly above average” finisher around the basket.
• His confidence in his jumper out to the college 3-pointer is improving and his stroke looks good.
• Gets to the free throw line and knocks them down.
• Can put it on the floor with ease and is a really skilled passer in and out of the post.
• Has a good feel for the game and how to defend.
• Walls up well and can stay out of foul trouble.
• Solid on the glass because he boxes out and pursues each miss.
Now let’s move to the areas that drop Lawson into that 35-50 range.
• Lawson figures to test as one of the worst overall athletes in the draft.
• Lawson lacks speed and blow-by ability, even when guarded by bigs.
• Lawson can get going too fast and miss shots in close. “He needs to slow down.”
• Lack of athleticism makes it hard for him to stay in front of offensive players laterally.
• Needs to continue to work on his overall strength so he can handle the battles that go on in the interior.