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Report: Dedric Lawson agrees to free agent deal with Golden State after going undrafted in NBA Draft

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Kansas' Dedric Lawson, left, and Kentucky's Reid Travis (22) compete for a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019.

Kansas' Dedric Lawson, left, and Kentucky's Reid Travis (22) compete for a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. by James Crisp/AP Photo

Former Kansas forward Dedric Lawson, a 6-foot-9 junior from Memphis who left school a year early to pursue his NBA dreams, went undrafted during Thursday’s NBA Draft in Brooklyn, N.Y.

But it did not take him long to catch on with a team.

Just minutes after the draft wrapped around 11:30 p.m. Thursday night, a report from Yahoo! Sports indicated that Lawson had agreed to a summer league deal with the Golden State Warriors.

“He told me that was a possibility,” said KU coach Bill Self late Thursday night shortly after talking with Lawson following the draft. “Golden State was a team that liked him and obviously if he’s going to try to get involved with a group, that’s a pretty good group to get involved with. ...There’s no question that he can help a good team be better because he knows how to play with good players.”

The Warriors, who had their bid for a 3-peat squashed by Toronto in this year’s NBA Finals, had a handful of picks in this year’s draft and selected Michigan’s Jordan Poole at the end of the first round, as well as Serbian center Allen Smailagic and Villanova big man Eric Paschall in Round 2.

Golden State also had the 58th selection in the 60-pick draft but later traded Yale shooting guard Miye Oni to Utah.

Self said he believed Lawson had as good a chance as any of the Warriors' picks to make the roster because of the depth of this year's draft.

"I knew that several NBA teams were interested in him," Self said. "And (with) this year’s draft, if you really study it, there wasn’t that much separation between (picks) 30 and 70.”

Self also believes in Lawson's ability.

“The thing that’s so attractive to NBA teams and to people about Dedric is that knows how to play, without question,” Self said on a post-draft conference call. “He’s a darn good player. “But the thing that wasn’t going to be changed, certainly overnight, is the fact that he’s not as explosive as some of those other guys are. It’s kind of pick your poison with Dedric. You can get an unbelievable basketball player, probably with as high an IQ as anybody in the draft, but you probably don’t get the explosiveness that some of those other guys possess and that potential tag is probably stuck to them more than Dedric.”

Lawson, who earned third team All-America honors after averaging 19.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game for the Jayhawks during the 2018-19 season, watched the draft with friends and family in his hometown.

Self said he spoke with Lawson shortly after the final pick was made and said he seemed “OK.”

“I don’t know if disappointed’s the right word,” Self said of his own feelings about Lawson going undrafted. “But I certainly feel bad for Dedric because that’s obviously a goal of his, to have his name called, and it didn’t happen. But he can still do exactly what he wants to do, he’s just got to do it the hard way, which will make him much better in the end.”

With neither Lawson nor Lagerald Vick getting drafted on Thursday night, KU’s streak of 10 consecutive years with at least one player landing in the two-round NBA Draft is now over.

“I’m happy when guys get drafted, but I could care less about that, the streak,” Self said. “It’s certainly nice, but we had one guy that was draftable and he had a great year for us and gave us everything he had and those sorts of things. It’s just something that happens. And if I were a betting man, I’d bet that (Lawson’s) not going to be hurt by this at all. And, if anything, it’ll probably end up helping him in the end. ... It doesn’t put him out of the game whatsoever.”

None by Chris Haynes

Comments

Joe Ross 5 months ago

2018-2019: The season for streaks to end.

I never understood why Dedric was so set on leaving anyhow. My personal feeling is that these players are way too anxious to make the jump. Someone needs to put bugs in these guys' ears: stay one more year like Frank Mason III and improve your stock tremendously rather than hyping yourself up after a great season.

Lance Iamnot 5 months ago

Turns out the NBA Combines actually matter... a lot, where Dedric was at or near the very bottom. Dedric's skill set is excellent, but his athleticism is his Achilles heel. Even NBA 7-footers are quick now, and can shoot from range.

As far as Dedric staying, could KU have made him a quicker faster player, or anyone else? Roy Williams really pushes players to play faster and it shows, but not sure this is HCBS focus. BTW, Grimes Combine results were also very poor relative to the competition.

I believe Doston would have been drafted as his potential with his speed is NBA draft worthy. Ironic, he is the one that appeared from the outset to only be trying to find where he rated, but seemed certain to return.

Jay Scott 5 months ago

Joe!! So great to see you bring your "wisdom" to another draft discussion. I'm sure that Dedric looks at your suggestions and gives them the full weight they deserve, given your track record......

What would Dedric hope to improve with another year? Grow taller? Develop more fast twitch muscle composition to increase his speed and leaping?

He'd shown all the skill he could. Now it's just a matter of proving that the Joe Ross Axiom means he's Larry Bird or Kevin Durant, based on being the same height and weight.....

A better bet is that he's drafted tomorrow as the next Zdeno Chara....he has a better chance of learning those skills than being an NBA small forward....

Matt Gauntt 5 months ago

Way to be petty, Jay

I look forward to reading Joe's comments. Have never felt that way about yours.

Jay Scott 5 months ago

You look forward to his condescending assertion that Lawson would improve his draft stock by staying another year? You support an idea that every NBA scout, exec and HCBS disagree with?

Did you also enjoy Joe's weeks long rant insisting that Perry Ellis was essentially Harrison Barnes?

Nothing personal, but I'm not too concerned that someone who "looks forward" to ideas that stupid isn't on the edge of his chair waiting for my insights...

Joe Black 5 months ago

Get off the damn Perry Ellis deal!! Ellis left Kansas in 2016, its time to let go. How many years do you have to hold on to something to make yourself feel better and smarter. Good God you're pathetic.

Jay Scott 5 months ago

If it's all the same to you Joe, I'll keep taunting the other Joe until he grows the stones to apologize for his two week long tirade of insults for disagreeing with what was obviously asinine.

In the mean time, you have another outlet to vent your uncontrolled rage.

Dane Pratt 5 months ago

Jay, I want to take this opportunity to express a long overdue apology. My tirade over the Perry Ellis-Harrison Barnes debate was inexcusable. My meds ran out and I couldn’t get them refilled so I went on a two week long drinking binge as a form of self medication. I’m sorry, you were right and I was wrong. Please accept my sincere apology.

Yours truly, Joe Ross (aka Dane Pratt)

p.s. Don’t take this out on Dane. He’s a figment of my imagination used solely for the purpose of agreeing with my comments.

Jeff Coffman 5 months ago

Jay (happens to share your name) Bilas said this past week on the Dan Patrick show that he missed on Dwight Howard. He said this player would never make it in the NBA. I think if you look at his 8x all-star, defensive player of years, and several other accolades, he was way off. I think Dwight Howard has earned over $230MM and continues to perform well. I think whenever, someone tries to compare a player and has KU glasses on, it's fun and encouraging in our business. I think in every draft discussion you bring up, I remember in 00 when Joe talked about Perry Ellis and Harrison Barnes in the same sentence. It's funny to see that this is the series of thoughts that you remember. It's not the best comparison, but it's not like he called him MJ or Wilt. Anyways, I think that we all like to see our Jayhawks do well. I personally think that if you were drafting on potential, taking a flyer on Vick would have been a pretty good thought process. He shoots 40%+ from 3, has no handle, but can get in front of a 2 guard. Thinking out loud, if he could setup in a corner and drain the shot he would be valuable, but I don't know all the ins and outs of the NBA, but I surely do enjoy talking about players and their potential.

Dane Pratt 5 months ago

Generally speaking Joe I would agree but I thought Dedric made the right move. He was never going to be a first round pick so the best case scenario if he returns for his senior year is a 2nd round pick which doesn’t necessarily guarantee a contract.

Doug Horn 5 months ago

Dedric probably left early because he was going to have a hard time improving on the season that he just had. He averaged 19 points, 10 rebounds while recording 22 double-doubles and led the Big 12 in scoring. He was the Jayhawks best player/best option this past season due to injury, freshman inconsistencies and people leaving the team. Had he come back for next year he would not have been the best player/best option on next years team and that would likely have made his numbers lower than this past season. Like it or not all of the NBA scouts and experts would have said he regressed and he would be trying to get out from under the label that he doesn't have the talent to be in the NBA. Not to mention the fact that he has been at school for four years and I remember even though I loved my time at KU I was ready to leave after four years. I hope he makes the roster with Golden State even if it means he has to take a two way contract and go back & forth between the G League and the NBA.

Matt Tait 5 months ago

This is exactly how I see it, Doug... Sure there are ways Dedric could have improved his game and developed more if he had stayed for his senior season, but he'll have WAY more time to work on those things as a pro, without classes and practice restrictions. Beyond that, if he had come back, he'd be hard pressed to average 19 and 10 again and failing to do that might have actually made people think he got "worse" if he didn't put up the same numbers.

He was ready to go. He had done all he could in college, as an individual, and now he'll get the opportunity to make some good money playing ball, whether it's in the NBA, the G League or overseas. Nothing wrong with that!

Joe Ross 5 months ago

There's a retrospective analysis that can be applied to test this reasoning. If Dedric could know then what he knows now, would he stay in college or would he enter the draft knowing that he'd have to carve out a spot after going undrafted? The counter argument is that he made the decision prospectively, but even a prospective decision should have been made entertaining the possibility he would have gone undrafted.

I'm not convinced at all that the decision was clear one way or the other, but I don't think there's any reason to think that a second season at Kansas would have harmed his stock. Even lesser numbers don't indicate regression, and the scouts know that. Improvement can be noticeable even when stats don't improve, for example in a case where a team's personnel changes in such a way that requires or showcases performers on the perimeter if they're available.

In any case, there IS ample enough reason to consider the positive aspects of returning to college. As Jay Bilas and others who have often remarked that players should return to improve their stock.

Jay Scott 5 months ago

So...MAYBE players MIGHT make a different decision if they knew how things would work out?

Wow Joe....even for you that was empty. Great use of your thesaurus though...

Joe Ross 5 months ago

It's easy to toy with you because you're so dumb and you struggle with literacy and comprehension.

Read the comment again if you can. Or have some one read it to you out loud. Slowly.

Eric Dawson 5 months ago

I wonder how many P5 college hoopsters ended their college careers as the leading scorer and rebounder in their conference and then went undrafted in the NBA draft? And this was described as a not particularly deep draft, which only makes the miss more telling.

Best wishes for Dedric! At least the chance to make the GS roster is encouraging.

Keith Gellar 5 months ago

I honestly don't care for streaks, but to me - this one matters a lot. Recruits come to KU because it gives them an extra boost (where it be image, or skills or both). If we lose that, then why would a recruit consider coming to KU anymore? we might as well just stick to average players who will stick around for 3-4 years.

Did Bill Self fail Dedric here? As much as this is on Dedric, its on Self and the KU bball staff. They couldn't get him to his max potential. Optics definitely not looking good here.

Joe Black 5 months ago

Are you out of your mind. Bill Self helped to make him look better than what he was. They revolved everything around him which is why he led the league in scoring. He is just not athletic and nothing Bill Self or the coaching staff could do would change that. He has basketball skills but he is not the dynamic athlete that NBA teams covet.

Craig Carson 5 months ago

Dedric could have went to Duke or UK and be still would have went undrafted...I loved Dedric, buy fact was, the NBA expect a guys his size to be much more athletic and explosive...Dedric reminds me of a shorter Tim Duncan..not flashy or overly athletic,just fundamentally sound...in a different era he would have been a fist rounder, but the modern NBA has changed

Robert Brock 5 months ago

Dedric is a talented and highly skilled scorer who is, unfortunately, not very athletic. Overseas is the place.

Chris Bailey 5 months ago

Is anyone really surprised Lawson went undrafted??? He's not that good. He's descent yes but not a real great pro prospect. He's similarly built like Perry Ellis who is playing overseas and I'd take Perry over Lawson any day of the week and twice on Sunday. First, he's a Kansas kid. Second, he gave his heart and soul to the program for 4 years. Lawson used this as nothing more than a springboard to hopefully land in the NBA. Yes he had a good season but had he elected to come back and spend another year getting bigger and stronger he most likely would have improved his draft stock. I hope the 25K he's gonna make in Siberia is worth missing out on a potential national championship at Kansas next season!

Keith Gellar 5 months ago

Given Bill Self's track record - i'd take the $25K over "Potential" national championship at Kansas next season in a hearbeat.

It took Bill Self a very experienced team and a lot of luck (and i mean a lot) to win his only national championship. We don't have the experience and i feel we've used up our luck. So not really expecting a natty anytime soon unfortunately.

Chris Bailey 5 months ago

I'd have stayed in school and gotten my degree which would be worth far more than the 25K he's gonna make over seas at least in the long run. And that money would have been free. It would've come with tons of celebrity and lots of perks. Playing over seas has no promise of tomorrow. You may be right on the Nat. Champ but I think I can say without hesitation that some 300 schools that compete in D1 basketball would trade places with us any day. And during the same span in which we've won zero from 2009 to 2019 only 7 schools have won a title as 3 have won twice. So that leaves quite a few out in the cold with us.

Jay Scott 5 months ago

$25k To play pro ball overseas? Seriously?

A piece of friendly advice.

If you're that completely out of touch on a subject it's best not to post your thoughts in public

Greg Bowles 5 months ago

Huge disappointment. Dedric should have stayed at Kansas another year, and would have jumped his draft stock considerably, especially if he had a year like last year. Oh well, he took the gamble and lost.

Craig Carson 5 months ago

There was nothing Dedric could have done to improve his draft stock..not to mention he is already 23..when was the last time a 23 or 24 year old went first round

Chandler Accipiter 5 months ago

The Suns inexplicably drafted 23 year old Cameron Johnson with the 11th pick. Crazy, even for the Suns.

Craig Carson 5 months ago

Johnson's game is better geared for the NBA..he is 6'8 with a good outside shot and better athleticism than Dedric...

Kenneth Johnson 5 months ago

I believe that, if Azubuike had not gotten hurt, Dedrick would have played the 2018-19 season as a power forward, rather then having to fill in the center position, and would have been able to better show his talents. Thus, perhaps he should have stayed at KU another year (assuming that Azubuike will be healthy this coming season).

Kenn Johnson (KU MS '70).
907 58th Street Des Moines, IA 50312 (515) 491-9166 Author of Kansas University Basketball Legends (2013) and More University of Kansas Basketball Legends (2014), both published by The History Press, and available at KU Bookstores and Amazon.

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