Prospect of the Day - Gani Lawal

Gani Lawal,
Sophomore, Georgia Tech,
NBA Position: PF,
H: 6'9, W: 229, Age: 20 

Lawal is a poor man's Blake Griffin.   He's not quite as good on the glass, not as good in the post, but is similarly limited in range and game.  Lawal is a pure post player who gets almost all of his possessions in the low post.   He's fairly efficient there and shows promise.  He has good athleticism and strength to play down low as well.

However, he's much more effective setting up on the left and struggles
when setting up on the right.   He plays with excellent strength and
touch, but his footwork needs work.   He often shuffles his feet taking
extra steps to make a move when proper footwork would make him more
efficient and effective.

Offensively, he really has a center's game, but a PF's size.   He plays
with strength and effort and is good at getting position on the
inside.   At the next level, he'll need to be more versatile.  He'll
need to develop more options in the post including playing better on
both blocks rather than just the right block.   He'll need to develop a
face up game as well.

He has a good base to work from, but he's still raw and needs a lot of
refinement.    Presently, he's a black hole in the post and that's not
going to work at the NBA level with his skill level.    He has no
perimeter game at all to speak of, so there isn't much to cover there.  He doesn't have a mid range jumper or anything that will work away from
the basket.

Defensively, he's a solid in the post.   He has good lateral quickness
for a big man and shows promise when playing pick and roll defense.    
Much like on offense, he lacks fundamentals at times, but he has upside
to become a solid defender going forward.

Lawal's primary problem may be that he doesn't have the size to
translate his abilities to the next level, and the skills he really
needs to be a PF are lacking.    He has nice upside for a player going
as late in the draft he's going in, especially given the lack of low
post players in the league.

-- update --
Latest reports are that Lawal has pulled out of the draft and will return to Georgia Tech.


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  • I thought he would be so good coming out of highschool. I didn't think he would stop growing lol. He would be a nice guy at 26th if you're looking for a banger inside. He reminds me of Brandon Bass. He also put up big numbers this year with my former highschool teammate Iman.

  • Definitely, if we were to go wing at #16, he'd be a good pick at #26. Unfortunately, Chad Ford seems to think he's going to withdraw.

  • That was my impression, it's probably best for him. Apparently Givony was absolutely not impressed with him at the big Nets workout, either. I'm guessing his poor showing on such a big stage so late in the process has a lot to do with his decision.

    By the way, are you going to look at Paul Harris at all? In his coverage of the same event (and in previous synopses to lesser degrees) Givony was very impressed. Since PF is getting weaker and weaker, going that route at #16 and reaching for Harris at #26 might be a good alternative to Terrence Williams at #16, if he's even available.

    Givony's article I referred to

    It looks like Casspi manhandled Daye, very interesting.

  • Casspi forces you to set the bar high, because his skills are strong in certain areas. You have to set the bar around his strongest aspects, even though he has some big glaring holes.

    If he was willing to stay in Europe for a couple years, sure. But as someone who wants to come over immediately, I don't know. He has a nice energy game, but his shot is horrendous, and he's still really thin. I suppose his upside could be Nocioni before he started making stupid plays, but who knows if he'll keep the same hard nosed attitude after he's initiated into physical NBA play.

    I'd rather go after Jerebko at #26. He'll stay over in Sweden for a couple more years, he has a better looking shot, and while he's even thinner than Casspi, it looks like he'll be able to add more strength than Casspi can. He might not have as much upside, but I think he's a much better rounded player, and has played in a stronger league at that.

    Casspi would probably be an energy guy off the bench, but if you want that at #26 (though in a far different form), Ellington is likely to be an Eddie House type who can come in and potentially give you as much as 12-16 points in as little as 4 or 5 minutes. Jerebko is more the type who will come in and give your guys some rest, give you a few points, a few rebounds, and defense good enough not to lose ground. What's Casspi in the NBA, the kind of guy who can take a few charges and give a good hard foul, but energize a defense doing it?

    I probably feel way too strongly about this, I just don't like his prospects at all.

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