Former Jayhawk Dedric Lawson represents KU's best chance at extending NBA draft streak to 10 consecutive years

Kansas forward Dedric Lawson (1) turns to the bucket after catching the ball in the paint while defended by New Mexico State forward Johnny McCants (35) during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 at Sprint Center.

On the eve of draft night, former Kansas forward Dedric Lawson found himself in exactly the same position he had been in for the past several months.

Projected as a possible late second-round pick in Thursday’s draft, — 6 p.m. on ESPN — Lawson and fellow-former Jayhawk Lagerald Vick are the only two recent KU players eligible for the 2019 NBA Draft and both are hoping to hear their names called at the podium in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Whether that happens remains to be seen, but neither player is considered a lock to be drafted.

If they are, their names will be added to the long list of Kansas players drafted into the NBA under KU coach Bill Self.

Throughout his time at Kansas, Self has produced 11 lottery picks, including a stretch of eight in a five-year span from 2010-14. In all, 25 Jayhawks who played under Self have been drafted in the past 15 years.

If Lawson and Vick don’t hear their names called, it will mark the first time since 2009 that the Jayhawks have not had a player selected in the 60-pick NBA Draft.

“I don’t know enough on Lagerald to comment on what people are probably saying,” Self said this week while assessing the draft outlook of his two former starters. “I know that he’s had several workouts (with NBA teams) and I think he has had some really good workouts and shot it well. But I don’t know how that translates to (being picked). With Dedric, I do believe he’s obviously got a better-than-average chance of being picked.”

The mock drafts seem to be split on Lawson’s chances.

ESPN.com’s Jonathan Givony, who ran Draft Express for years, does not have the 6-foot-9 Memphis native and former KU All-American being selected.

Neither do The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie, CBS Sports draft analyst Kyle Boone, SI.com’s Jeremy Woo or NBADraft.net.

Interestingly enough, Vecenie has former Kansas State big man Dean Wade going off the board with the 60th and final pick in this year’s draft.

Vick has not appeared on any of the major mock drafts.

CBS college basketball reporter Matt Norlander, however, sees it differently and believes Lawson will get picked — 58th by the Golden State Warriors, to be exact.

“Not an efficient big, not a long-range big, but too good of a player last season not to warrant being taken in this year’s draft,” Norlander wrote. “It’s not a strong (draft) and, among lengthy power forwards, it’s not exceedingly deep. Lawson was one of the 10 best players in college basketball last season, although the question with him (in the NBA) will be usage.”

Regardless of who’s right and who’s wrong, Self is hoping for one thing for Lawson in this year’s draft.

“I told him and his family (last Sunday) I just hope it’s a situation where it’s the right fit,” Self said. “Because so often, when you go in the second round, you’re going to a team that’s already got 13 guaranteed contracts and now you’re looking at (signing) a two-way (contract with the NBA and the G League) or whatever, best-case scenario, which may not be bad. But I hope he’s in the right situation as much as anything.”

As for the wild idea of Lawson returning to school if he winds up going undrafted — a rule proposal making that possible for players who participate in the NBA combine has not yet been adopted by the NBA and NBA Players Association — Self laughed off the idea of retaining his All-American forward for one more season.

“To my knowledge, that hasn’t been changed yet,” Self said of the rule proposal that dates back to last August. “They had to pull out by May 29th (which Lawson did not do). But (him returning to KU is) not happening, so don’t try to tease anybody that that’s going to happen because that’s not happening.”

Lawson, who participated in the NBA combine in May, has been in Los Angeles this spring working out for both the draft and the combine.

In a text message Wednesday night, Lawson told the Journal-World he planned to watch the draft with friends and family in Memphis.

"I'm just mainly excited to see where I land and grateful for the opportunity," Lawson said.

Comments

Chris DeWeese

Two things I'm fairly certain of: 1) Zion Williamson gets picked number 1. 2) No KU players are getting drafted.

1 month ago

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Jay Scott

Where is Joe Ross with his abundant draft input?

With the uncertainty regarding Dedric's draft spot and pro performance potential, this seems like the obvious time for Joe to enlighten everyone with the famous Joe Ross Axiom.

In Joe's theory, which may someday be regarded in the same way that Einstein and Newton ideas are, players of the same height and weight are automatically and concretely determined to have exactly the same skills, position and pro outlook.

Remember how Joe vigorously assured us that Perry Ellis would be drafted, positioned bring the same package and succeed similarly to NBA max deal SF Harrison Barnes based on his axiom. This was groundbreaking!!!

Based on Joe's methods, what do experts see as Dedric's 6'9 230 comparative?

Larry Bird? Kevin Durant? Perhaps he'll be drafted 56th on Saturday in Vancouver as was future HOF Zdeno Chara.

Where are you Joe? Enlighten us!

1 month ago

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Joe Black

No need for personal attacks especially on someone who hasn't posted on this article. Is this what your life has become? Waiting to react to a post from someone you don't know and has opinion very different than yours? I think with enough time in my mom's basement on the computer I could come up with numerous times you have been dead wrong on your posts as well.

1 month ago

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Jay Scott

"No need for personal attacks".....compare your post to mine.

Do you feel like an idiot and a hypocrite? Just a guess....

1 month ago

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James Wellington

June 18th, 2016

Dear Diary,
Today Joe Ross made a stupid comment about Perry Ellis. I really let him have it! It made me feel like such a tough guy. I bet he cried. I'm going to set a reminder every year to bring it up, even if no one else does. What a great day!

-Jay Scott

1 month ago

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Craig Carson

@James Wellington..OMG that is so accurate..I can totally see him doing that lol

1 month ago

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Dane Pratt

@ James, I don’t know what Joe said but it must have been some pretty god awful stuff because he is stuck in Jay’s brain in a major way. It would appear he has taken up permanent residence there. He has my sympathy.

1 month ago

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Jay Scott

Let's not overplay the sheer stupidity of Joe's comment. The notion that Ellis was an NBA player had afflicted more than justt Joe.

What made Joe "special" was his two week and several dozen post rant attacking anyone who disagreed with his ideas. It was classic theater.

For sheer stupidity, Craig Carson's assertion that HCBS should have signed a full recruiting class to replace the Lawsons, Moore, Grimes, Dok and DeSousa back during the fall and winter was FAR more idiotic.

1 month ago

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Craig Carson

@Jay..just stop..there is no redeeming yourself..just take all your losses and move on lol you are the butt of all our jokes..just know that lol..you're like that annoying person who shows up to a party and when everyone sees you they think "great,who the hell invited this moron..so much for having a good time" lol..just go away lol

1 month ago

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Brian Wilson

Spot on....Dedric is a similar but more athletic Perry that never got to play and develop at the 3 spot and so he will probably never make the NBA. Plays to small to play PF, not fast enough or skilled to play SF.

At this point his skills are at being a lesser PF, and from HCBS perspective, by the way he played him, and without telling him, Dedric's likely destination is International ball somewhere.

I hope Dedric proves me wrong and shoves it in my face and becomes an aggressive beast on the court....but not counting on it. Good luck to Dedric in future...prove me wrong.

1 month ago

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Brett McCabe

More athletic? Perry used to win the wind sprints, had the blender and hustled every play. Let's not minimize a great Jayhawk in order to laud another.

1 month ago

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Jay Scott

This is Brett when properly medicated. Awesome.

1 month ago

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Jay Scott

....given that you're proven wrong daily....

1 month ago

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Joe Joseph

Someone help me understand why Dean Wade could possibly be drafted as opposed to Dedric Lawson.

(My guess is neither get drafted, BUT STILL)

1 month ago

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Michael Bennett

Dean Wade has been a better long-range shooter, and some teams may see him as a better fit in today's NBA than Dedric. Dedric needs the ball in his hands more to produce, and that could slow teams down more ala Carmelo-lite.

1 month ago

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Stuart Corder

I hope he gets to wear an NBA uniform next year.

It would be nice to see him wind up with the Thunder, whom could develop him much like they did Burton/Nader/TFerg.

1 month ago

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Ryan Zimmerman

Good luck in the developmental league, Dedric. Thanks for all you did this past year. No chance that he gets drafted, but hard work can land him somewhere for sure post-Draft

1 month ago

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Barry Weiss

Dedric was a cool dude and a great Jayhawk. I sure hope he gets some kind of contract , he deserves it.

1 month ago

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Brett McCabe

Agreed. He came, sat out a year, earned first-team all-conference and did all he could to pull a two-wheeled tractor down the highway. Would love to see him get a spot, any spot, on a team and make a career for himself.

1 month ago

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Mark Wooden

Sorry bout the draft Dedric. Overseas is the. St pro option IMO. Good Luck to th future.

1 month ago

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