As recently as this part March, few truly had a handle on Anthony Lawrence. He emerged as one of those players who became nationally noticed at the exact moment he committed.
Lawrence committed to Miami in the early 2014 spring, giving the Hurricanes an in-state product to help bolster their Class of 2015 signing haul. He also happens to be the son of Anthony Sr., who played for the Canes in the early 1990s.
From there, Lawrence toured on the EYBL circuit with Each 1 Teach 1 and performed solidly both with his travel squad and at the Lawson/Oladipo Camp in early July.
Lawrence is half-combo forward, half-tweener. This section will focus on the former. Standing 6-7, 185 pounds, Lawrence actually possesses a frame that's sturdier than his weight would suggest. He's solidly built and should develop into a versatile defender capable of guarding some power forwards and some wings.
Meanwhile, he's a very capable three-point shooter when he's able to set his feet. Don't look for him to create his own threes with crossovers and stepbacks, but he's good at squaring up and making sure he's in position to fire upon receiving a swing pass or post kickout. He didn't launch a ton of threes on the EYBL circuit but did make 18-45 for a strong 40 percent. His shot selection clearly was a positive.
|Lawrence needs time but possesses clear potential|
He plays with some flash as well. Lawrence is a surprisingly slick passer and ranks far ahead of most peers in that regard. He delivers nice drop-back bounce passes on the break and can whip passes from the wing through traffic. Down the road, as he gets stronger and plays more frequently inside, he also should become a fine interior distributor.
And while not mesmerizing athletically, he does run fine and jumps pretty well with a running start, and he likes to throw down emphatic slams off one foot.
About that 'tweener business. Lawrence doesn't handle well enough to play on the wing full-time and likely will have some defensive problems against shorter wings. At the same time, he isn't yet strong or comfortable for the post and, at 6-7, is a little undersized as well.
The hope is that he can become a legitimate combo forward with more post scoring tools and weapons by which to punish less versatile opponents. Clearly, he'll need to improve on the four rebounds he averaged in 21 games with E1T1. Yes, he played with some dominant performers such as Ben Simmons, but he's capable of more.
He also must improve on his 64 percent free throw shooting, though 30-47 is a small sample size and his form appears sound, so that's unlikely to become a pervasive issue for him.
Given time to develop a more complete game and identity, Lawrence should become a highly positive contributor to the Miami program. He can play uptempo as a finisher and (especially) a passer, yet long-term he should be able to knock down jump shots along with providing some post offense.
He may not hit all notes perfectly as an underclassman, but he should become a vital component to the program's success as a junior and senior.