Lourawls Nairn is Michigan State's most coveted recruit—and for good reason. The explosive point guard resembles the prototypical floor general who thrives in Tom Izzo's scheme. He isn't the projected starter, so how important will he truly be in 2014-15?
Evidently, with the departures of arguably State's three best players, Nairn will contribute immediately. However, what remains to be seen is his development both physically and mentally, what kind of improvements he makes to his game and how the other guard play unfolds around him.
Clearly, there are unknowns for a team that only returns two starters.
Coming out of high school, Nairn is already a mature point guard. He commands the game with his high basketball IQ and can break it open with his tremendous change-of-pace style of play. This squad lost a quick, experienced point guard in Keith Appling, but it returns with Nairn, who closely resembles Appling.
Don't expect that void to be completely filled immediately. But Nairn's arrival will definitely diminish that loss.
While he is a blur in transition and orchestrates the offense with distinguished grace, Nairn must improve his perimeter game. He possesses solid form with a high release point on his jumpers, so he has the potential. His mid-range game is solid, but Nairn will need to work on establishing a more consistent three-point shot.
If he does so, then Izzo could play him alongside Travis Trice, which would provide two guys capable of running the team and knocking down shots.
Nairn's potential playing time primarily hinges on the quality of his play. However, if Alvin Ellis doesn't develop into more of a threat offensively and Trice has additional difficulty with his enhanced role, then Nairn will likely step into a key role.
He already possesses a much more polished offensive game than Ellis as it is, though at 5'10" he lacks the substantial size that the 6'4" Ellis provides. The rising freshman also poses a different type of threat to opposing defenses than Trice does, as Nairn relies mostly on penetration, while the senior's game is predicated on perimeter shooting.
They differ in approach, but both are capable scorers and defenders. Traditionally, however, the style that Nairn assumes has blossomed in Izzo's history as the Spartans head coach.
He will be one of the top four guards, so that immediately guarantees he will play pivotal minutes.
It is too soon to predict how Nairn's freshman season will unfold. There aren't many glaring flaws in his skill set. However, his adjustment to the college game and the play of his counterparts will also determine how much Nairn will potentially play.
Right now, he is an exciting prospect. Soon, he will help anchor Michigan State's attack in 2014-15.