By: Pardeep Toor
I was surprised by the polarizing views on Tyler Hansbrough in the comments section during these here draft previews. Part of the reason for the outrage can be traced back to the nature of Psycho T but I also wonder if there's an unconscious Carolina bias since that's the team viewers are exposed to the most via ESPN, Duke vs. UNC hype, history of the program, Roy Williams' blazer and blah blah blah - not a fan.
Biases aside, I'm sorry to disappoint, but I also have doubts about Tyler's Carolina cousin Ty Lawson. He had an amazing finals game, methodically dissecting Michigan State and really every other opponent in the tournament with his drive and dish. There's little doubt that Lawson was the best player in the tournament and had he been out with this toe injury, the Tar Heels would have been upset much earlier in the tournament. He was the best player on the best team in the country this year.
He's small, fast and strong and easily blew by other point guards in college but it's hard to gauge his transition to the pros because he played with so many talented and polished players at UNC. Carolina players in the past few years - Raymond Felton, Sean May, Marvin Williams, Rashad McCants, Brandan Wright - have struggled to find their games at the pro level because they come from an unselfish program stacked with talent. The number of college stars from Carolina meeting expectations at the next level has been diminishing, which by no means is prophetic for each individual, but it's a trend nonetheless.
Junior Season: 16.6 points, 6.6 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 1.9 TO, 53.2 FG%, 79.8 FT%, 47.2 3PT%
The assists numbers were a lot higher than I expected. It helps that Psycho T shot 51.4 percent, Wayne Ellington 48.3 percent, Danny Green 47.1 percent and Ed Davis 51.8 percent.
His shooting percentages were a lot higher than I expected as well. Weird. I never looked at Lawson as a solid shooter. I'm not the only one who feels that way.
Best Case: Raymond Felton - Continuing the tradition of Carolina point guards not translating to good pros (hat tip: Pat Hayes), we will keep the comparisons in house. Probably the main reason for Carolina failures is that they don't always get to play with as much talent and athleticism as they do in that gross shiny baby blue.
Worst Case: Mike James - quick, out of control, situational defender, never discovers consistent shooting touch.
Fit With The Pistons: The problem with drafting any point guard or back court player in this year's draft is it requires sinking the log jam of Rip Hamilton/Rodney Stuckey (I don't count Arron Afflalo as a rotation player). The Pistons need a true point guard, Hamilton doesn't want to come off the bench and for whatever reason, Dumars won't allow Stuckey to properly develop off the bench - he needs to be the savior right away.
Lawson is an interesting prospect because of his speed, ability to get to the hoop and he would instantly be the best true point guard on the roster. He doesn't address the team's greatest need (big men) nor is he the best fit on a imbalanced roster heavy on shooting guards and weak on everything else. That being said, at some point you need to acquire your point guard for the future (I prefer Eric Maynor) and I don't see much available through free agency or trades ... please don't say Rafer Alston again.
How about Lawson driving and dishing in the lane next year in the Dee?