With just under a month to go before the draft, I will start to take a mor ein-depth look at the players expected to be taken in the draft. The TrueScout™ Scouting Report will break down a players game ito all of its individual elements in order to bring it back together again to see what the sum of these skills are. I will look at a player from all angles, from their court IQ to their leaping ability. The first subject of this new feature will be Gani Lawal from Georgia Tech. Make sure to let me know what you think, either in the comments section or contact me via the Contact button up top.
Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech
Power Forward- 6’9, 234
13.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 53% FG, 57.2 FT%
DraftSite.com Mock Draft Position – #32 (2nd Round, 2nd Pick)
Post Skills – Lawal does a good job using his body to get position on either block or flashing in the middle. He has a solid lower base and uses it well to prevent defenders from reaching around to deflect the ball. He has developed a growing repertoire of post moves including a nice turn-around jumpshot and a left-handed baby-hook. He should be more physical when he gets the ball down low and tends to take shots that bring him away from the basket. Gawal also needs to improve the quickness of his moves as he tends to take one dribble too many, allowing the defense to recover to him.
Footwork – While Lawal’s footwork has improved since he started school, he still has room for a lot of improvement. When making a move in the post, his steps tend to be too close together leaving im needing to take more to finish his move. When out high, he does a good job with his strides towards the rim.
Ballhandling/Hands – Lawal has also improved his ball-handling skills to the point that he can get the ball at 10 to 15 feet and make a move to the rim. In the post, his handling skills are a little more awkward, with Lawal often dribbling the ball too far from his body. He is much more comfortable dribbling to his right than his left, but his left hand is servicable. He has good hands and usually has them in position so they are a good target for his passer.
Perimeter Shooting – While not Lawal’s greatest strength, he has the ability to hit consitently from 10 feet, and can even go out to 15. His mechanics are fine, though he could decrease his release time. Also, when he gets the ball up high, he could be more effective if he was in position to shoot off the catch, giving him the option to drive if the defense falls for the shot fake.
Rebounding/Passing – Lawal plays a high-energy came and is his most effective cleaning up rebounds on the offensive glass. He has a good instinct for where missed shots are coming off the rim and uses his body well to get position for the board. ANother over-looked part of his game is his ability to just get his hands on the ball, keeping the ball alive for his teammates. His court-vision could use improvement as he often misses open men off the double team in the post. Gawal doesn’t throw the ball away often, but he should be a little quicker with the pass.
Free Throw Shooting – Lawal needs to improve on not only drawing fouls, but converting once he gets there. Mechanically, there doesn’t seem to be an issue with his shot, but he tends to lose focus and often rushes the shot.
Post Defense – Lawal, at times, can be a beast of a defender on the blocks. He uses his body well to force defenders out of the post and he uses his long arms to alter shots or to deny passing lanes. Where he has problems is with quicker offensive post players. Lawal doesn’t have the footwork or agility to prevent the quick post moves, and often resorts to fouling them as they go by.
Perimeter Defense – Lawal needs to improve his footwork and agility to be able to defend on the perimeter. He doesn’t move that well laterally and usually chases his man around the outside. He does have good reaction time and closes well on shooters.
Rebounding/Blocking- Like on the offensive end, Lawal does a great job anticipating missed shots and getting his body in position to grab the rebound. He boxes out effectively and secures the rebound up high with two hands. He can be a little careless with his outlet passes, but more than a few times, his point guard should have come back for the ball. While not the most athletic player, Lawal has long arms and has the ability to time his block attempt to avoid fouls. He is also a good help defender and rotates well to stop the ball.
Summary & Intangibles
Athleticism – Average
BB IQ – Above Average
Lawal has the body and the energy to be a very effective power forward in the NBA. The proper coaching should help him with his footwork and make him effective on both ends of the floor. While he will never be a primary offensive option in the NBA, he has the ability to be an energy guy off the bench, providing defense and rebounding, and eventually gaining spot starts.