2010 NBA Draft: Who Ya Got, Gani Lawal or Craig Brackins?

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2010 NBA Draft: Who Ya Got, Gani Lawal or Craig Brackins?
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With only nine days left until the 2010 NBA Draft, we’ve looked at who is projected where, and weighed in on who we’d rather have.

Basically, we’re asking Who Ya Got? Is it the proven performer, or the younger player with bigger upside? Do you want a stretch four, or a banger in your front court?

Here, two of our writers each took a player and made their case for that particular player.

The conversation doesn’t end with our opinions though, so in the comments let us know—Who Ya Got?


Previous “Who Ya Got?”:

Dominique Jones vs. Jordan Crawford
Derrick Caracter vs. Dexter Pittman
Sherron Collins vs. Mikhail Torrance


The Case for Gani Lawal—Power Forward,6′9″,233 lbs

Gani Lawal is the second player from the Georgia Tech front court getting picked in this year’s draft. While most people are focusing on Derrick Favors, it was Lawal who led the Yellow Jackets in points and rebounding this season, playing fewer minutes than Favors.

Achieving these kinds of numbers while playing next to arguably the best big man in the draft is nothing to overlook. It’s not surprising that in Lawal’s previous season, without Favors, his numbers were even better.

Gani has spent three years in college and has an NBA-ready body. Offensively, he tends to stay down low, shooting a solid 53 percent last year. He’s a solid rebounder (offensive and defensive) and a capable shot blocker. While he isn’t going to be a superstar, Lawal is a hard worker that’s going to do the dirty work in the post for any team who decides to take him.

Lawal is a more attractive selection for a team because you know what you’re getting from him. He’s going to be more consistent with his play style, and therefore a safer pick for the role player teams are looking for late in the first or early second round.

Lawal is going to give you a strong athletic presence on both ends of the court, shooting north of 50 percent and rebounding efficiently.

Craig Brackins, while clearly talented, plays in the tough combo forward mold.  He’s not quite athletic enough to get by quality NBA small forwards, and not powerful enough to battle down low with NBA power forwards. His shooting can be inconsistent, especially from long range, which minimizes his ability to be a mismatch on the perimeter.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Lawal go to any team picking at the end of the first or early second round. Orlando should be looking for more reliable front court depth, and could snag him with the 29th pick.

After starting their new look roster with John Wall, Washington could be looking to select another big man to play in the post with last year’s quality surprise, Andray Blatche. The Wizards have two picks in this area and could very likely look in Lawal’s direction.


The Case for Craig Brackins—Power Forward,6′10″,229 lbs

Craig Brackins is said to have hurt his stock by returning to school, but I don't understand why.

He’s got the same body type that made him an intriguing prospect, and he’s added the ability to shoot from the outside.  He still has the ability to face up and knock it down or abuse smaller defenders in the post.  His defense isn’t where it needs to be, but it has improved from last year.  To summarize, he’s just as good a prospect as last year, but instead of going in the lottery he’ll be the biggest steal in the second round.

Comparing him to Gani Lawal isn’t even fair.  Lawal doesn’t have nearly the polish that Brackins has, and lacks anywhere near the versatility. 

Lawal isn’t going to face up a bigger defender and take them off the bounce.  And while he may have the size to punish a smaller man, his post game is so elementary he isn’t close to the match-up problem that Brackins is.  Sure, Lawal might be a better rebounder, but a lot of players in the NBA can rebound, not many can score with the versatility of Brackins.

It’d be shocking to see Brackins slide past the Milwaukee Bucks at the 37th overall pick.  The Bucks have a great young core with Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut.  Adding a scoring threat at the power forward position, who could dominate the pick and pop, would be a fantastic addition. 

There’s a chance he’ll be off the board by then though because both Detroit (36) and Golden State (34) could be looking for front court help, depending on what they do in the first round.

Brackins will probably be the best player selected in the second round of this years draft.  He’s got a body that’s NBA ready and has room for improvement once he gets committed to his weight and build.  Defensively, he isn’t a star, but he isn’t a liability either.  The fact is, there is no real risk by selecting him in the second round, and his offense gives him the edge over prospects like Lawal, Caracter, and Jarvis Varnado.



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