In the Dallas Mavericks' opening Las Vegas Summer League game on July 8, one of the biggest surprises was the outstanding performance by A.J. Lawson. The 6’6 guard went off in his Maverick debut with 28 points, five rebounds, and one assist. The stat that stood out to most fans was the impressive six of 11 shooting from behind the 3-point line.
During his three years at the University of South Carolina, Lawson started 80 out of 81 games and averaged 14.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. The Canadian made the All-SEC Freshman Team and the All-SEC Second Team throughout his collegiate career.
In 2021, Lawson went undrafted before playing for the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks in the summer league. Eventually, Lawson signed with the College Park Skyhawks in the NBA G-League where he averaged 11.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game last season.
Who is A.J. Lawson? What does he bring to the table for the Dallas Mavericks?
Throughout the career of Luka Doncic, he has been known to be one of the best facilitators in the NBA. Although Lawson shot a mediocre 33.8 percent in the G-League, shots can easily develop throughout a player's career. A great example of this is Dorian Finney-Smith who started his career shooting a scratchy 29.3 percent from behind the arc and now bumping it up to 39.5 percent.
One of the key things used in the Dallas Mavericks offensive system is having screens set for Doncic. This will always allow players like Reggie Bullock, Maxi Kleber, Christian Wood, and Dorian Finney-Smith to pop for a 3-pointer. Lawson showed in the summer league opener against the Bulls that he is a great shooter off screens.
Lawson averaged a solid 1.2 steals per game in his time with the Skyhawks. Nico Harrison, Jason Kidd, and the Dallas Mavericks front office have been building a roster with tall and defensive assets which fits Lawson’s style of play. If the Mavs can create a consistent shot out of A.J. Lawson, he may be one of the final pieces to the bench depth needed.