A.J. Lawson showcases potential in Dallas Mavericks loss to Bulls

Dallas Mavericks, A.J. Lawson
Dallas Mavericks, A.J. Lawson / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie A.J. Lawson scored 12 points in the second half of the Dallas Mavericks 115-112 loss to the Chicago Bulls in a contest that was meaningless for many, but not for him.

Dallas rested several key players, and Lawson had something to prove. He hadn't played since February 15 and stepped into Friday night's game ready to play.

Lawson had multiple dunks and illustrated his ability to stretch the floor, defend, and run in transition. He also brought energy, something Dallas hasn't seen much of as of late.

A.J. Lawson showcases potential in Dallas Mavericks loss to Bulls

""Big time," Mavericks guard Theo Pinson said about Lawson's performance. "He went out there and played with a whole lot of energy. We knew A.J. could play.""

Lawson showed no signs of rust in this game and beautifully displayed the "next man up" mentality as he stepped in and excelled in a game that no one thought he'd be playing in just a few days ago.

""When I got the opportunity and they called my name, I was ready," Lawson said. "I'm just going to come out and play hard every time...I'm going to rebound, play defense, and then when the shot is there I'm going to shoot it.""

Even though the Mavericks lost and were eliminated from the playoffs, this game was an important one for Lawson. He proved that he can be a 3-and-D wing for this team and potentially could crack the rotation going into next season.

""He's worked extremely hard," Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said of Lawson. "His future is very bright. We're excited about not just what he did tonight, but what we have planned for him to work this summer.""

Kidd went on to say that Lawson earning a spot in this rotation could be determined by the other players on this team and the new ones that will be coming in. It's not easy to earn playing time in the NBA, but Friday was a good start for Lawson.

Regardless if Lawson gets minutes going forward, he will try to stay ready. He said he remains ready through his relationships with veteran players on his team, getting extra shots up in the gym, and always having the coaching staff give him advice. Lawson also said that this summer his main focuses are his ball-handling, shooting, and decision-making.

""I want to shoot over 40 (percent) from three," Lawson said."

A.J. Lawson will have one more chance to showcase his skillset this season as the Dallas Mavericks' season concludes on Sunday afternoon against the San Antonio Spurs. The Mavericks are expected to sit the same players as tonight, and their goal remains the same.

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