Lazar Hayward, 2010 NBA First Rounder?

7 07 2009

A 2010 NBA mock draft has Lazar Hayward, the senior Marquette forward, picked late in the first round.

I’m a big Lazar fan but I’m equally surprised to see him getting so much respect. The guy’s got the physical tools — he was a 4-star recruit coming out of high school. But his tremendous heart, rebounding savvy and sweet stroke during the last three years was overshadowed by the spectacular play of the Three Amigos (Jerel McNeal, Dominic James and Wesley Matthews).

Those players have now graduated and are fighting for spots on various NBA teams. And now Lazar is pulling a Macaulay Culkin.  He’s alone and coming into his own, making USA Basketball’s World University Games team.  His challenge next season will be maintaining highly-productive numbers with a very inexperienced Marquette squad.

If Jerel McNeal, universally-lauded for his collegiate play, couldn’t get a team to bite on a no-strings-attached 2nd round draft pick, I highly doubt Lazar can get himself selected in the first round.

The names and orders on NBA mock drafts are completely different before and after the NCAA basketball season.  At least a dozen college ballers you’ve never heard of will play their way onto that list, meaning that some of those names will drop off.

For example: before UNC’s Ed Davis physically dominated in the paint during the Final Four, do you think he was a consensus top 5 pick?

All that to say, I think it’ll be tough for Lazar to keep his footing.  I’ll be rooting for him though.

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4 responses

8 07 2009
richyrich006

Nice blog. Come check out mine

20 07 2009
hayward supporter

Lazar has always had to fight for whatever respect he eventually got. Fighting to keep his spot for the draft won’t be any different. Senior year will be his time to shine…. GO LAZAR!

22 07 2009
strotty

He’s a power forward in a small forward’s body. Unfortunately, heart doesn’t matter much in the NBA when you are 6’5″ (listed at 6’6″ but there’s no way he is). the ONLY way he makes it to the pros is if he can become a Wes Matthews type player. For the first time in his college career, he will play his natural 3 position and be freer on the wing. He’s going to need to develop a more consistent outside shot (the range is there) and will NEED to be able to dribble-drive. That is what killed Matthews in the end during NBA camps.

Defensively, he is pretty darn quick and I believe will be able to stay with most small forwards in the NCAA. Better than Matthews, I don’t know about that. It’s a longshot and the first round status was because of his play for Team USA but I think he’d be lucky to be drafted anywhere due to his size and lack of a position.

That being said, I don’t see any reason for him not to average 19 and 8 this year and lead a very young but raw-talented Golden Eagles team to the Tourney this year.

8 08 2009
K-man

I definitely agree with you on all points, Strotty. He’ll have no problem keeping up with most collegiate SFs, but he won’t be a match for elite-level SFs. He’s just way too slow for “real” 3′s.

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