Ty Lawson was drafted 18th overall in this year's draft class. He was selected after point guards such as Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, Jonny Flynn, Brandon Jennings, and Jrue Holiday.
All of these other point guards—with the exception of Holiday—will more than likely be starting for their respective teams right out of the gate.
Don't get me wrong, all of these point guards have tremendous upside, but none of them have a mentor like Lawson does in Chauncey Billups. And that may be very beneficial to his growth as a player down the line.
Lawson may have been overlooked on draft day because of his small stature. He is listed at 5'11", but he may be more in the range of 5'9". However, if that's the only knock you could find on the point guard from the national championship Tar Heels, then many teams may eventually find out they made a mistake on passing up on the electric guard.
He may be one of the smallest players on the court, but don't let his size fool you. Lawson is 200 pounds of lean muscle he uses with his blazing speed to get into the lane at will.
As a rookie, he might already be one of the fastest players in the game. I had the privilege of watching Lawson in his final preseason game, where he had 29 points, six assists, and five steals, and his first career NBA
game, where he had 17 points, six assists, and four rebounds.
In those games, he had his way with players, getting around them whenever he wanted and drove straight to the hoop on a number of occasions. His speed was simply unmatched.
His speed wasn't just evident on the offensive side of the ball, he showed his explosiveness on the defensive side as well. He was able to stay in front of his opponents with his blinding speed, often preventing them from getting into the lane.
The way he commanded himself on the court in his first professional game made it seem like he had been at this for years in the NBA.
He doesn't seem to be as uncomfortable or careless with the ball in his hands as most rookies. He is very wise beyond his years.
He still needs to work on becoming a more consistent shooter from the outside at the professional level. However, his 47.2 three-point percentage during his last year in college shows he can become a lethal long-range threat at the NBA level if he continues to work on that part of his game.
If he can manage to master his outside shot, the sky is the limit for Lawson and what he can do in all facets of the game.
The stats he puts up this season will probably not do enough justice for the argument of Lawson being the best point guard of the 2009 draft after his rookie season, because it will probably take a few seasons to actually see what the kid is made of.
He doesn't have the same opportunity to get a ton of minutes right off the bat like many of the other rookie point guards taken before him, since he is playing with a more competitive team behind Chauncey Billups. But George Karl will put the duo of Lawson and Billups on the court together quite often this season.
Don't let Lawson playing behind Chauncey Billups defer you to think he won't get much playing time.
Coach George Karl has been very impressed with the youngster out of North Carolina, according to his interviews when asked about Lawson, and has emphasized that he is going to play this year.
That has to be a huge boost of confidence to Lawson because Karl has never been too fond of giving rookies substantial playing time.
I do have to say, if Lawson were to be awarded the same amount of minutes as rookies on sub-par teams like Tyreke Evans and Jonny Flynn, he could easily be just as effective as them, if not even more effective from the get-go.
I do believe that Lawson will become the best point guard in the 2009 draft class when it's all said and done.
It had to be his size that held teams back from taking him earlier on draft day, because he seems to be the complete package otherwise. He is everything you could ever want in a point guard minus about four or five inches, but that won't matter, as he has too many other special qualities that more than make up for his lack of height.