The San Antonio Spurs have signed Dedric Lawson, an undrafted rookie out of Kansas. The contract is an Exhibit 10 deal, which essentially means Lawson will play in training camp in San Antonio before being sent down to the G League. If Lawson stays in Austin for 60 days, the Spurs will owe him a bonus of up to $50,000.
In other words, the Exhibit 10 contract makes Lawson a step above the typical variety of training camp fodder. While it’s extremely unlikely that he makes the NBA team this upcoming season, he’s likely to play at least the first couple of months of the season in Austin. Beyond that, if all goes to plan, there’s a good chance he’ll be on the Spurs summer league team next year.
Who Is Dedric Lawson?
Lawson is actually quite an intriguing prospect for someone who was available for such a small investment. He spent two seasons at Memphis before transferring to Kansas. In his second year in Memphis, he averaged 19.2 points and 9.9 rebounds. In his sole season in Kansas, he scored 19.4 points per game while pulling down 10.3 rebounds.
Heading into the 2019 NBA Draft, Lawson was someone who many scouts thought would get drafted. He certainly had the production to warrant a draft pick. In fact, Kevin Pelton’s stats based rating system had Lawson as the draft’s fourth best player.
But ultimately, Lawson had too many question marks and that caused him to go undrafted.
Why Wasn’t Dedric Lawson Drafted?
While Lawson definitely produced at a high level while in college, scouts weren’t happy about him failing to improve much after transferring to Kansas from Memphis. Considering his age (22 in October), scouts wanted to see a bigger jump in productivity. Not only did he fail to notably improve, he arguably got worse, as his assist rate fell 45% and his block rate fell nearly 47%.
Lawson’s stock also took a hit at the NBA combine. His athleticism graded out as poor. He had slow sprint times but even more damning is the fact that he had the worst max vertical leap (26 inches) and second worst standing vertical leap (23.5 inches) of any prospect. Additionally, his body fat percentage was the third highest and his height (6-foot-7 without shoes) was underwhelming for a big man.
Given his lack of ideal size and his extremely underwhelming athleticism, there are a lot of legitimate questions regarding whether what he did on the college level has any chance of working in the NBA. In college, he got away with simply being stronger and more aggressive than his competition. Those aren’t advantages that he’ll have too often as a professional.
Since the draft, Lawson played for the Golden State Warriors during summer league. In five games, he averaged 5.2 points and 4.5 rebounds in 21.5 minutes per game. It was a decent showing, however it wasn’t enough for Lawson to land even a two-way contract anywhere in the NBA.
If Dedric Lawson Shines For The Spurs, What Does He Bring To The Table?
In today’s NBA, Lawson is a power forward — with an outside chance of being a small ball center. He has exhibited enough range on his jumper to conceivably fit how the league wants to play nowadays. He hit 39.3% of his three-pointers in Kansas on 4.3 attempts per 100 possessions.
To make it, Lawson needs to get in shape and continue working on his shooting and the rest of his perimeter skills. He’s never going to be even an average athlete in the NBA. That said, he has a knack for rebounding, he can score against smaller defenders in the post and it’s possible for him to develop an advanced face up game. His all-around feel for the game has a chance to eventually be a strong attribute in his favor.
It’s a long shot, certainly, but Lawson is interesting enough to keep an eye on as he begins his development in San Antonio’s system. It can only help that Tim Duncan is back with the Spurs as an assistant coach. Lawson is the type of big man prospect who could certainly learn a thing or two from Duncan.