Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Could Go for a Ty

It's become pretty clear that the 76ers intend to take a point guard with their first-round draft pick and with good reason. For starters, this is a point-guard heavy draft, with some really good floor generals projected to go as late as the final picks of the first round. Second, Andre Miller is an unrestricted free agent, and I just don't see him in a Sixers uniform next season.

Even if Miller decides to not take the money and run (which I think he will … I hear the Lakers and Blazers could use a veteran point guard), Andre Miller is 33 years. For a team that isn't exactly right around the corner from title contention, MIller is not in the long-term plans. So as atrocious as the Sixers' shooting is, this team needs to get Miller's replacement, if not for next season, certainly for the very near future.

Now, there are many talented point guards in this draft. Ricky Rubio, Brandon Jennings, Stephen Curry and Jonny Flynn are the cream of the crop, but those guys will be long gone by the time the 17th pick comes around. Realistically, there are three guys on the radar with the game that fits what the Sixers need: North Carolina's Ty Lawson, VCU's Eric Maynor and Wake Forest's Jeff Teague. In my opinion, this is a no-brainer for the Sixers, assuming all three are still there when it's their turn to pick.

The 5'11" point guard for the National Champion Tar Heels was the best player in the NCAA tournament, and he played hurt the entire time. No matter, he was still the fastest player on the floor. While his size may be a detriment on the defensive end in the NBA, his quickness, decision-making and all-around game make him a valuable player regardless of his size.

Last season, Lawson averaged 16.6 points per game, 6.6 assists, 2.1 steals, 3 boards and shot 53.2 percent from the field, 79.8 percent from the line and 47.2 percent from three. He also had a ridiculous 3.48 assist to turnover ratio, and turned himself into the most lethal point guard in the nation. How he's projected by most folks to slip to 17 shows just how much depth there is at the position.

Lawson does everything you want your point guard to do. He takes care of the basketball, can get to the rim any time he wants, is lightning quick in transition, seems to always make the right decision and can knock down a shot if you leave him open. And the guy got exponentially better each and every season.

Lawson came to North Carolina as an out-of-control player who knew one speed and one speed only: fast. He struggled early on, turning the ball over regularly, but as the season wore on, he settled down, harnessed his speed and started becoming a true point guard. And over the next two seasons, he worked on every weakness of his game, most notably his shooting, jumping from a 35.6 percent three-point shooter as a freshman to 36.1 percent his sophomore season to finally, an outstanding 47.2 percent in his junior year.

Each year, he shot at least 50 percent from the field (50, 51.5 and 53.2), and after struggling at the line his freshman season (68.8 percent), he became a guy you simply didn't want to foul, shooting 83.5 percent as a sophomore and 79.8 as a junior. Essentially, he turned himself not only into an adequate shooter, but a lethal one, from the field, three and the line.

Add to that his incredible decision-making and penchant for making his teammates better, not to mention his lightning speed that would suit the Sixers' transition game very, very well, and Lawson looks like a perfect fit. And while he might have trouble guarding taller point guards who could post him up, Lawson is a very strong guy who can hold his own, and his 2.1 steals (and NCAA-record 8 in the Final) provide some game-changing easy buckets.

Right now, many people project the Sixers taking Lawson with the 17th pick. I hope they do. While Maynor or Teague would not be bad, neither one is anywhere close to as good as Lawson right now. Maynor has never shot close to 50 percent from the field and while a better pure scorer, is not as good of a shooter as Lawson. And Teague was outstanding last year, but he also had a 1.06 assist to turnover ratio. That doesn't exactly scream elite point guard.

So, if the stars align and another team ahead of the Sixers doesn't wise up and nab Lawson, Ed Stefanski should make Ty Lawson the 17th pick in the draft.

BallHype: hype it up!


  1. I'll agree with Ty over Maynor or (especially) Teague. He reminds me of a shorter Jason Kidd (with better shot selection maybe?) the way he ran the show this past year for UNC. Only thing I'd say is that he will NEVER be able to shoot off the dribble (ala Kidd) so we still wouldn't have anybody who can create offense for themself but Ty certainly looks the part of a guy who can create offense for others.

    'Dre Miller is long gone.

  2. Yeah, that's definitely a good point. Something they'll have to address somewhere, fo sho, but this team is lightyears away from contending with Orlando/Cleveland, healthy Boston if they aren't too old.

    He can create off the dribble as far as getting layups or easy buckets for others though. But yeah, not gonna shoot jumpers off the dribble.

  3. surprise, surprise, the rev wants a tar heel

  4. Yep, and I certainly don't want Scottie Reynolds.

  5. Neither do I, nor does anyone else for that matter, which is why he will be back at 'Nova next year. Which is where he belongs, he's obviously not NBA ready, but I don't know why you gotta hate him so much, he did hit a game-winning basket in an Elite 8 game that gave people our age our first opportunity to watch a Philadelphia team in the Final Four.

    P.S. I also want Lawson.

  6. I don't hate him. I just wish he was better.