A member of the 2021 All-SEC team, AJ Lawson broke out in his junior year at South Carolina. In a season that saw Covid negatively impacted South Carolina, AJ Lawson played in all 21 of South Carolina’s games, averaging 16.6 PPG, 4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.1 BPG, and 1.5 TOPG on shooting splits of 39/35/70. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: AJ Lawson
Height/Weight: 6’7 / 179
Wingspan/ standing reach: 6’7/ 8’4
Hand size: 9 ¼
College: South Carolina
Tools: Athleticism, defense, transition offense
- Explosive athlete
- Improved jump shot as a junior- good, quick footwork
- Finds cutters quickly and accurately
- Thrives in transition
- Incredibly quick feet defensively and can guard speedy ball-handlers
- Feel for the game is somewhat weak
- Plays out of control too often
- Needs to improve moving jumper
- Must add strength
- Must tighten handle
- Inconsistent follow-through on jump shot
- Square frame
AJ Lawson is a raw, athletic wing with shooting upside and immediate defensive value. While he does need to add a noticeable amount of strength to pair with his quick feet, his defensive upside is wildly high. Raw juniors aren’t always desirable in the draft, but someone with Lawson’s combination of tools and physical gifts at 6’6 are hard to pass up on. If a team can improve any two of his strength, shooting, and feel for the game/ ability to make reads quickly at a high tempo, said team should be able to get a median outcome result out of Lawson. For his jump shot to reach its potential, he needs to improve his follow-through and learn to hit pull-up jumpers and shots on the move. For teams looking at an athletic swing for the fences in the second round, AJ Lawson is a viable option.
Similar to: James Young, Mario Hezonja, Hamidou Diallo, Corey Brewer, Jonathan Simmons
Projected draft range: 35-60
Expected role: backup wing that can defend, shoot, and cut off-ball to utilize his plus athleticism.
Unplayable if: Jump shooting does not translate, and decision making becomes detrimental and neutralizes his bouncy athleticism.
Exceeds expectations if: Jump shooting comes along to league average percentages and his added strength makes him one of the better bench defenders on the wings.