North Carolina Basketball: Is Nate Britt the Next Ty Lawson?
Continuing the reign of dominant point guards, Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels snagged 5-star recruit Nate Britt for 2013. What makes this young prospect so intriguing is that his game is reminiscent of a certain someone that led UNC to a national title in 2009: Ty Lawson.
Anyone who watches college basketball remembers how the 2009 Tar Heels ripped through the tourney competition like it was the Chapel Hill 500 and there was no restrictor plate on Lawson.
Their margin of victory was never less than 12 points, and the title game against Michigan State was never even close. UNC won by 17, but they had 55 points and a 21-point lead at the half (both NCAA Tournament records).
They were simply unstoppable when Lawson was on the floor.
Fast-forward to 2013, when Britt nestles into his new home at the Dean Dome. He likely won't start right away, since he will be coming in just one year behind 4-star Marcus Paige—who is expected to produce at a high level. However, in the time he plays, Tar Heel fans are sure to have flashbacks.
To be considered “the next Ty Lawson,” he will have to add some weight and develop some consistency in his jump shot.
The time he sits behind Paige could actually be good for Britt. It will give him time to bulk up through Carolina's strength and conditioning program. At 6'0” and 155 pounds, he is an inch taller and 20 pounds lighter than Lawson.
Both relentlessly cut into the paint with quickness that can't be matched. Despite being 5'11”, Lawson was also helped by his strength—being able to take contact and still finish. That is where Britt needs to improve.
Though left-handed, Britt has a really nice right-handed floater that will allow him to avoid shot blockers. But if he wants to dominate, he will have to strengthen up and take contact, and he does sport a good enough frame to make that happen.
Britt hasn't developed great consistency with his jumper, but he has a smooth stroke that should be easy to work with. He does have a slow release on his spot-up jumper that needs some fine-tuning, but such is not the case with his pull-up jump shot.
Lawson is also a little slow on his spot-up release, but he's managed to do just fine thus far in the NBA. It's only a worry when most of the players on the court are taller and have time to get back and disrupt the shot.
Where they draw the most similarity is in transition.
Britt is every bit as ruthless on a fast-break as Lawson. Four defenders in front? No problem. With their speed, both players can just blow right by (as Lawson displayed in Game 6 versus the Lakers this year).
From what I have seen, Britt actually seems to be a slightly more creative passer than Lawson, so that could make the fast-break even more exciting to watch. That says a lot, considering my wife—who hates basketball—actually enjoyed watching the 2009 Tar Heels.
For a junior in high school, Britt has a very solid base to work from—and a base that screams Lawson. We are headed into a great era of Tar Heel basketball, and Britt is sure to be a big part of it.
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