Arizona State got the news they have been looking for, for a long time on Saturday when Kimani Lawrence announced his commitment to the Pac 12 school. The Rhode Island native will bring a versatile game to the West Coast, and should give the Sun Devils a very nice piece to the puzzle.
Bobby Hurley went back to his East Coast roots to land Lawrence, and in doing so he got a player who can play on the wing or as a stretch power forward. Lawrence is around 6-foot-6 with good athleticism and a developing sill level. Add in a strong frame and a good motor, and there is a lot to like about Lawrence long term.
He still needs to continue to work on his ball handling and outside shooting, but there is so much good that Lawrence brings to a team.
This summer running with Expressions Elite on the EYBL circuit, Lawrence averaged 14.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He shot 63 percent from the foul line, and in limited attempts made 40 percent of his threes, though he is going to struggle to shoot it at that clip from deep early in his college career.
One of the things that Lawrence is going to do best early on is provide defensive versatility. Lawrence is strong enough and big enough to guard power forwards, and then he is athletic enough and quick enough to guard more traditional wing players.
Especially in a league that likes to utilize a lot of ball screens like the Pac 12, having the ability to switch on the defensive end with a forward is huge, and Lawrence should be able to do that.
Along with positional versatility on defense, Lawrence on offense can handle the ball some, especially from the power forward spot, is a solid catch and shoot guy, and then will also offensive rebound either from the wing or from the power forward spot.
Because of that you can put Lawrence in as a wing in a more traditional lineup, and then also as a small ball power forward in a new age small ball lineup.
Due to the fact that Lawrence is a bit older and more physically developed, he should be able to come in right away and make plays. Lawrence has a lot of ability, and should be an immediate contributor for Hurley and his staff as they work hard to rebuild the roster in Tempe.