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Monday, May 13, 2019

3-point shot has been an emphasis for Dedric Lawson ahead of NBA combine

Kansas forward Dedric Lawson (1) puts up a three over Oklahoma State forward Cameron McGriff (12) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Dedric Lawson (1) puts up a three over Oklahoma State forward Cameron McGriff (12) during the first half, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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It’s officially draft combine time for a handful of Kansas Jayhawks who are hoping to make a name for themselves this week in Chicago in front of NBA eyes.

Starters from the 2018-19 team, Dedric Lawson, Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson are three of the 66 players invited to the annual skills showcase that will feature testing, interviews, scrimmages and drill work today through Sunday.

According to an Eastern Conference scout who recently talked to the Journal-World for a series of pre-draft breakdown stories, all three carry second-round projections into the combine and the goal for each is to do enough to inspire a team to pick them in Round 1, where the contracts come with guaranteed money.

All three have until May 29 to pull their names out of the draft pool and return to Kansas should they so desire. But sources close to the process have said that Dotson may be the only one seriously considering that.

Lawson is perhaps the most interesting story of the trio. After earning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and All-American honors for averaging a double-double during his first season with the Jayhawks, Lawson spent the past six weeks in Los Angeles working on his game and body to position himself to show that he belongs in the first round.

“Overall, I’m feeling very confident going into the combine,” Lawson told the Journal-World in a phone interview from Los Angeles over the weekend. “I’m feeling much stronger. (KU strength coach Andrea) Hudy does a great job with that, so I was just focused on coming out here and adding to what she already developed in me and that has just made me a better athlete overall.”

Lawson, who stands 6-foot-9, 235 pounds, said he has improved his strength and quickness since heading to California. More than either of those things, though, Lawson believes his ability to consistently knock down the NBA 3-point shot will be one of the biggest keys for him this week in Chicago, as the combine begins on Wednesday.

“I’ve been working on the 3-ball essentially every single day,” he said. “... I feel more confident with the outside shot. I knew I could shoot it at Kansas, but we played different lineups and I played in the post a lot and things like that. Towards the end of the year, though, I started shooting the ball more and that led to my confidence rising. But I’ve just been working on everything so I can go into the combine with the mindset that I’m ready to dominate.”

While Lawson’s ability to work on his game full-time — instead of while juggling practice, classes, tutoring and workouts — has given him more of an opportunity to fine tune his skills, the All-American said he did not have much free time during the past month and a half.

When he did, he tried to watch as much NBA playoff action as possible and said he just tried “to imagine myself in their position, seeing what they do.”

Although he’s on the brink of what amounts to the biggest, most important job interview of his life, Lawson said he had not yet encountered any sleepless nights or butterflies in his stomach.

“It’s kind of like those excited nerves, like, ‘Man, I’m just ready to get going and show guys what I can do,’” he said. “It definitely feels real and it’s going to feel even realer when we’re out there competing.”

Comments

Ryan Zimmerman 6 months ago

I think if Dedric is going to be successful at the next level, he'll have to be a jump shot or 3 point specialist. I don't believe he has the size or athleticism or toughness to bang underneath. He's shown he can hit them, but most likely spends a good chunk of time in the G league perfecting it

Brian Wilson 6 months ago

Although Dedric way more talented and athletic, his issue is very similar to Perry Ellis. Not enough power or size to play Center or Power Forward and not enough speed to defend the fast Small Forward (An argument that I don't really adhere to.) They are both "Big Tweeners."

IMO, Dedric may give up a bucket or two to speed but he has speed enough to defend and will rarely get blown-out so it's not worth worrying about. But, in order to succeed Dedric will have to shoot the three. He has to either force the big man outside or learn to play small forward. I question why he didn't play at small forward down the stretch. If it's good enough for the NBA it ought to be good enough for KU.

I felt last year, HCBS should have started Mac, K.J, Dedric, Agbaji, and Dotson and have Lightfoot. Garrett and Grimes come off the bench......in that order. Dedric would be better prepared for the NBA and I think KU could have played better

Like Dedric, sometimes I even wonder what would have happened had Ellis played the three and if we had let Lucas, Traylor, Diello, Bragg, Mickelson, and Coleby compete for the posts. I'm not so sure KU wouldn't have been played better back then. Too little too late and apparently it's not what HCBS thinks is good for the team...... So, KU continues to play potential NBA shooting guards at the 3 while pushing "Big Tweeners" to the post.

Jonathan Andrews 6 months ago

Best of luck, Dedric.

I think he's on the NBA radar, although IMO he would be best served going undrafted and refining his skills in Europe. He's talented enough to make it in the league, he just doesn't have the defense to stick around long. Every year, you see borderline NBA hopefuls like JaMychal Green and Mike Scott carve out a rotation role for an NBA team, after initially languishing in the NBA and then plying their trade overseas.

Danny Hernandez 6 months ago

Dedric is a first rounder, albeit late first round but definitely should be taken in the first round. Forget his defensive shortcomings and who doesn't have them, one on one offensively, he's hard to stop and a given for two points. Klay coming out of college wasn't a defensive wizard either

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