I talked to both picks this morning and wrote it up over at SBN AZ. Both guys are solid. Going to be fun watching them develop.
onsider this a kind of mash-up post.
First you will find a great Q&A - the "A's" are far better than the "Q's" - with Bird GT from SBN's Georgia Tech blog From the Rumble Seat answering questions about Gani Lawal and then you will find a bunch of links to a bunch of people you don't care about saying how great/horrible the Suns did in the draft.
The download on Gani Lawal:
1) Are you surprised that Lawal dropped to the 46th pick? He was projected higher, any thoughts on why he fell?
Georgia Tech fans are not surprised that Gani was picked at 46. Based on all of the news outlets and pre-Draft hype, we expected him to be a second round pick. I think it's generally understood that NBA teams can have completely different Draft boards for the 2nd round allowing players to drop past where they're expected to be drafted.
The only reason we'd guess he dropped was due to an apparent lack of progression in college. Maybe NBA teams felt he had reached his talent ceiling as there wasn't a jump in any of his major statistical categories. Worse of all, his FG% dropped from sophomore to junior seasons as he was asked to take more midrange jumpers.
2) How did Lawal fit on the floor with Favors and how did he look compared to the #3 overall pick?
Lawal and Favors exchanged double doubles night after night in college, but it was obvious there wasn't great cohesion when both were on the floor together. As individuals, they wreaked havoc and created match up problems for every team we faced. When playing together on the floor, it was like watching two cooks waiting to use the same stove. They were obviously uncomfortable with one another's presence and there was a general disjointedness when our offense had two PF's on the floor at the same time.
For comparison's sake, both players appeared to be on par with one another. It's really hard to judge two players when you only had 36 games to watch them play together. In short, Gani has a refined low post presence. He has a lot of really good moves in the paint and is very difficult to defend unless you hack him (an effective strategy since he's a bad FT shooter). Derrick was raw. He was called for traveling frequently and never really got a good feel of the college game despite statistics that would say otherwise. If I had to describe them both in one word, I'd say Gani was "hustle" and Derrick was "explosive". A combination of the players would've been a #1 Draft pick.
3) The Suns also drafted Dwayne Collins. Any thoughts on him and how he and Gani matched up?
Tech fans have seen Dwayne Collins play against Tech 5 times. Miami beat Tech 4 of those 5 times. The Hurricanes are the proverbial fly in our soup. Against Tech, Collins averaged 22 minutes played, 8.6 rebounds, and 8.8 points per game. He was a fairly big part of Miami hoops the past four seasons and was critical in Miami dominance of Tech during his college career. When Gani played Miami, he racked up some pretty impressive stats, however, as he averaged a double-double. Gani (against Miami) averaged 23 minutes played, 10 rebounds, and 11 points per game in only three games played.
Unfortunately for number crunchers and fans of the NBA, these numbers aren't great as they span 4 years and really don't reflect an accurate side-by-side comparison of the two guys. So I pulled together more in depth stats of every NBA Draftee Tech has faced in the Lawal-Favors Era to see how we've fared, particularly against guards and forwards. The only defense I have of our forwards' apparent lack of defense is that Paul Hewitt runs a frantic full court press that runs afoul most college guards yet leaves our forwards exposed in the open court.
4) Any other thoughts you might want to share about Gani.
I told this to Raptors HQ a few months back, but basically I think the biggest thing NBA teams should be looking at when drafting Gani is his work ethic. His free throw percentage and rebounding efficiency have gone up year-year in college. He is obviously working his butt off in the gym and in his free time (which there isn't much of for student athletes at Georgia Tech). Hewitt doesn't practice free throws at practice, so Gani's improvement in this department shows a dedication to the game that is an unknown quantity with many draft picks. Also, check out these stats regarding more comparison of Gani and Derrick regarding their relative importance to Tech's winning/losing efforts.
Thanks for the chance to work with you guys again. We love the work y'all do (eye patch with Jared Dudley was classic).
Thanks again to From the Rumble Seat for the great answers.
And now those links:
NBA Draft: PBT's post of picks, starting off on the Wall - ProBasketballTalk - Basketball - NBC Sports
46. Phoenix -- Gani Lawal, forward (Georgia Tech): It's hard to look that good next to Derrick Favors, especially when your games are similar but he is better at it. Good news: Lawal suffered in the post due to poor guard play at Georgia Tech. Not a problem in Phoenix.
60. Phoenix - Dwayne Collins, forward (Miami): One of the better athletes in the draft and a guy you could see finding his way into that Suns bench mob. Maybe.
2010 NBA Draft Grades -- NBA FanHouse
Phoenix Suns: The Suns grabbed Georgia Tech's Gani Lawal in the second round, and he should be a rotation player if Louis Amundson and/or Channing Frye move on. Phoenix also took Dwayne Collins out of Miami with the last pick in the second round. He has the same chance of making the Suns as Taylor Griffin did last year. Which is to say no chance at all. Lawal might be the best second-round pick of all. Final Grade: A-.
2010 NBA draft results: Draft grades - ESPN (Insider)
PHOENIX SUNS GRADE: C Analysis: With Amare Stoudemire about to test the free-agent waters, the Suns attempted to shore up their front line with two tough, athletic rebounders. Neither Lawal nor Collins is great on the offensive end, but they'll add toughness for Phoenix in the paint.
2010 NBA Draft Team Grades - Chris Mannix - SI.com
B. Phoenix Suns One of Steve Kerr's last acts as Suns GM could be a good one. Gani Lawal didn't get a lot of press at Georgia Tech playing next to acclaimed freshman Derrick Favors, but he has excellent hands and what some scouts believe to be a burgeoning post game. If he develops, he could be a real steal in the second round. Dwayne Collins was a decent athlete at Miami but don't expect him to get much further than training camp.
2010 NBA Draft: Second-round grades - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball
No. 46: Suns select: Gani Lawal, PF, Georgia Tech Grade Analysis: On numbers alone (he outrebounded teammate -- and No. 3 overall pick -- Derrick Favors), he should have gone a lot higher. Grade A
No. 60: Suns select: Dwayne Collins, PF, Miami Grade Analysis: At the stroke of midnight, the Suns select ... hey, a much better player than the No. 60 position would indicate. Grade B.
Handing out grades for the 2010 NBA draft - NBA News - FOX Sports on MSN
Phoenix Suns: A-minus Picks: Gani Lawal (46), Dwayne Collins (60) Both power forwards were great value picks with no risk as second-rounders. Either one of these ACC products could crack the Suns' rotation this season potentially, and both will help on the boards, which fills a big need. No one should have any complaints, seeing as this team doesn't even have a general manager right now.
NBA draft report card: How each team fared - NBA- nbcsports.msnbc.com
Phoenix They gained a couple meaningless late rounders. Meaningless because all that really matters is keeping Amare Stoudemire. Grade: C
Grading the NBA Draft - Ball Don't Lie - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
Grade - C Phoenix Suns: Gani Lawal(notes), Dwayne Collins(notes) None of these men will factor into your lives much.
And this has nothing to do with the draft but is a great read...and very sad (for our old friends, Blazers fans)
Apocalypse Now: The Kevin Pritchard Era Ends In Portland - Blazersedge
As the clock passed 4PM at the Portland Trail Blazers practice facility in Tualatin, the media room was bored. Expectations had plunged, a long night was ahead and a mountain of unfulfilled trade rumors bred a lot of skepticism. Plates of food were gulped down, newspapers pages were turned impatiently.
And then the news hit -- news that was expected, perhaps even within the next few days, but not now. Not now. Kevin Pritchard had been fired. But, incredibly, he would still run the evening's draft. Had this ever happened before? This can't possibly have happened before.
Typically after a draft, the team sends out its General Manager. The Suns sent Alvin Gentry out to talk to the media about the Suns' picks. We've beat the Kerr departure thing to death, so let's get right to it.
In Lawal and Collins, the Suns essentially drafted the same guy. Both right around the same height and both are physical, long defensive players with raw offensive skills. You'd think the Suns are worried about losing Lou Amundson to free agency while facing the potential of losing Amare, as well.
Neither of these guys will come close to replacing Amare's offense, but at least they are big bodies who will be hungry to play in the NBA.
"One of the things we have to continue to do is get better defensively here and I think the way that you do that is get good defensive players. It's pretty simple," Gentry said about the picks.
We'll get a good look at them in Summer League. Or at least at Lawal. Collins had his knee scoped on June 18th to fix a slight meniscus tear, which may prevent him from fully participating in the Vegas workouts.
The Suns likely won't decide until after training camp whether either player will make the roster for next season.
"I think both of those guys have an opportunity to maybe do something. I just think they're very competitive, they play really hard, they'll be great guys to have in practice," Gentry said about their chances before adding, "We expect for them to come in and participate in Summer League and we'll see what happens from there. But we're excited about these two guys. I don't think you can ever have too much size in this league."
Video from draft night via Suns.com
More photos » Ricardo Arduengo - AP
Georgia Tech's Gani Lawal is the newest member of the Phoenix Suns. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
Were you forseeing this?
So here's the deal:
Player: Gani Lawal
Specs: 6' 9" 234 lbs. Norcross, GA
School: Georgia Tech (3 years)
2007-8: 7.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG 1.0 BLK
2008-9: 15.1 PPG 9.5 1.5 BLK
2009-10: 13.1 PPG 8.5 RPG 1.4 BLK
From Draft Express:
"Sporting an excellent physical profile highlighted by a 7'0 wingspan, Lawal has always been lauded for his athleticism and tremendous work ethic. While those two attributes have afforded him quite a bit of success on the NCAA level, Lawal's post footwork, jump shooting, and passing lagged behind his ability to impose his will on lesser athletes in the paint.
"Away from the block, Lawal remains limited. He rarely attempts a jump-shot, taking less than one per game according to our data. He has improved from the foul line, upping his percentages more than 10% from last season. Continuing to improve his range will be a key for him as he moves forward in his career."
Check your boy out:
Gani Lawal Draft Combine Interview (via DraftExpress)
So the Suns go with a pretty raw, big bodied guy who can't shoot free throws. I'll admit, I know nothing about Gani, but he looks to me to be a guy who could be a beast, a defensive specialist. But he came out of GT early, and with his deficiencies....Well Gani, enjoy the D-League if you get that far, welcome to Planet Orange.
Dwayne Collins, 6, 8", PF, Miami
According to Chad Ford, Collins has the largest differential between wingspan (7' 4") and height. He also has the largest hands I've ever personally seen. Bigger than Amare's and probably as big as Shaq's. He said they measure roughly 10 inches from thumb to pinky and about about 9.5 from palm to tip of middle finger. His standing reach is 9' 1.5". For comparison, DeJuan Blair's standing reach is 8' 10.5" and Lou Amundson is 8' 7.5".
Todd Quinter calls him a physical paint player, a good rebounder and post defender with underdeveloped offensive skills. He loves to attack the rim and dunk the ball. He sees himself as a Ben Wallace-type player who takes pride in defense and rebounding, though there are some questions about his motor.
Collins had his knee scoped on June 18th to repair a slightly torn meniscus. He thinks he will be ready to play in the latter part of Vegas Summer League (mid-July). He was in Phoenix for interviews and meet-and-greets. Before having his knee scoped, he worked out for New Jersey, New York, Miami, and Oklahoma and expects to be drafted in the middle of the second round.
At 6’8 with a chiseled 232-pound frame, Collins has adequate height for an NBA power forward, but is severely undersized for his natural position of center. He is able to compensate somewhat with a tremendous wingspan (rumored to be 7’3), terrific frame and solid athleticism. Though he does not possess elite explosiveness or quickness, he is clearly above average and has the length and aggressiveness to compete at the next level.
On the offensive end, Collins has progressed slowly throughout his time at Miami, even if he still has a raw post game. He shows average footwork but looks more comfortable receiving the ball with his back to the basket these days, able to resort to a drop-step, a variety of hook shots, and even, at times, a turnaround jump shot. He is shooting a spectacular 60.4% from the field, which ranks him tenth among prospects in our database. This is indicative of the excellent position he’s often able to establish around the basket, as well as his very good finishing ability. Similarly, he continues to get to the line at a nice rate, averaging 8.9 free throw attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted and ranking in the top 20 of our database in free throw attempts per possession, even if he shoots just 56.9% from the line.