In the ever-changing NBA, versatile wings are at an all-time premium. That league-wide need is enough to boost A.J. Lawson into the first-round discussion. He averaged 29.9 minutes per game as a freshman, immediately filling a critical role for the Gamecocks.
At 6-foot-6, Lawson has the physical tools to defend multiple positions on the perimeter. He has a sturdy frame and still has room to fill out. In addition to his defense, Lawson looked the part of a useful complementary piece in South Carolina’s offense.
While not considered an elite shooter, Lawson hit a respectable 35.8 percent of his 3-point attempts last season. The volume was there and the mechanics — even though his release isn’t the quickest — aren’t a major concern. He should take a step forward in year two.