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Less than three weeks ago Packers Elite Jerseys , Ty Lawson was playing professional basketball in China.
Nowadays, he’s one of the first subs off the bench for the Washington Wizards in their Eastern Conference first-round series against the Toronto Raptors.
Lawson is hardly the only player who went from not having a spot on an NBA roster to getting some run, and maybe even filling a key role, during these playoffs. As much as teams develop plans for acquiring talent via the draft, free agency or trades, sometimes a late pickup can become a piece that completes the puzzle.
”It’s not ideal,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said about adding someone on short notice. ”It (requires) a lot of work that has to be done in trying to figure it out and try to incorporate him and integrate him into our offense and defensive schemes.”
With Lawson, though, Brooks added, ”It probably is not as much of a disadvantage because he’s been in the league, understands the NBA and understands the schemes. A lot of the schemes are the same. It’s just different names and a lot of the plays are the same but different names. He picks up things pretty quick. His IQ level is extremely high.”
The series, which the Raptors lead 3-2 heading into Game 6 on Friday, has been Lawson’s first NBA action in about a year. He was with the Sacramento Kings last season and spent time with three other clubs before that; Lawson was always a success on the court, although a couple of arrests in 2015 on drunken driving charges drew unwanted attention.
His sudden return to the league’s hardwoods came in Game 2 against Toronto, when Brooks turned to his 30-year-old backup and told him to replace All-Star John Wall.
”It was a little bit of a shock. … I was like, `Who?'” Lawson said. ”Once I got my feet wet, hit my first shot, I felt like I was back at home.”
Sure looks that way.
The guard, a 2009 first-round draft pick, is averaging 5.8 points, 3.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 19 minutes per game, and he’s made a total of only three turnovers for the Wizards.
”That’s a smaller version of John Wall. He’s so quick. … Push the pace. Get out in transition,” Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. said. ”Someone you can’t sleep on. He might be small, but he can create a lot of havoc in the paint. A lot of us know Ty Jalyn Holmes Jersey Vikings , just from playing against him, so it wasn’t nothing to get him acquainted with everybody.”
There have been other such easy fits.
For all the talk about the Philadelphia 76ers‘ ”process” that landed cornerstone stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, for example, they moved into the East semifinals with notable contributions against the Miami Heat from two more impromptu arrivals, 3-point specialist Marco Belinelli and forward Ersan Ilyasova.
The team signed both in February after they were sent packing by worst-in-the-East Atlanta. Belinelli is averaging 16.6 points in the playoffs, while Ilyasova is putting up 10.8 points and 9.2 rebounds, including three of his five career 10-rebound games.
When the 76ers picked up Ilyasova, they waived Trevor Booker, who then went to the Indiana Pacers. Booker has added a physical presence for Indiana in its series against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
As Oklahoma City faces the Utah Jazz, the Thunder are starting Corey Brewer, who was brought in last month after he was bought out by the Los Angeles Lakers. Greg Monroe, added by the Celtics after being bought out by Phoenix, entered Thursday night’s Game 6 of Boston’s series against the Milwaukee Bucks averaging 7.0 points and 5.2 rebounds.
Even former league MVP Derrick Rose became available out of nowhere, signing with the Timberwolves in March. As part of a reserve unit that had been quiet most of the season, he offered some instant offense in Minnesota’s first-round loss to the Houston Rockets.
For the Wizards, Lawson stepped in as a reliable and experienced backup to Wall.
”We need his scoring, we need his playmaking, we need his toughness, we need his ability to get into the paint,” Brooks said. ”And he plays with no fear.”
Lawson crammed for his debut by watching Washington’s main plays on an iPad, learning about 60 to 70 percent of the offense that way. In his first game, he’d ask a teammate to let the basketball bounce on an inbound pass so Lawson would have a moment to ask Brooks which play to run.
But Lawson also relied on a simple mindset.
”I was like, `Be aggressive,”’ he said Mike White Jersey Cowboys , ”`and we’ll figure it out.”’
AP Sports Writers Cliff Brunt, Dave Campbell, Dan Gelston, Kyle Hightower and Michael Marot contributed to this report.
鈥?Now that the Great QB Grab of 2018 is over, what’s ahead for the five first-round quarterbacks selected might be more daunting than getting selected on opening night of the draft.When NFL teams get desperate at the position, they tend to reach. Or mortgage portions of their future. Or sometimes simple blow it.Of course, in many other instances, they nail it, from top overall selections Eli Manning, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck to wise lower picks on the first night such as Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan and, yes, Aaron Rodgers.It really is a crapshoot.“Everybody’s draft board is set up differently, and when I recite to you all the best available player in this draft for the Cleveland Browns organization, this was the best available player,” general manager John Dorsey said of taking Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma to begin proceedings. “What he brings to this organization, I couldn’t be more excited to have him. Those other guys are really good quarterbacks, too, but I just felt that this was the best fit for this organization moving forward.”As the New York Jets felt with Southern California’s Sam Darnold; the Buffalo Bills with Wyoming’s Josh Allen, for whom they traded up five spots with Tampa Bay to get; the Arizona Cardinals with Josh Rosen of UCLA, also by using a trade, with Oakland; and the Baltimore Ravens, who concluded Round 1 with 鈥?you guessed it 鈥?a deal with Philadelphia so they could grab 2016 Heisman recipient Lamar Jackson of Louisville.Five QBs, the most since the 1999 draft and second to the epic 1983 first round that produced three Hall of Famer quarterbacks (John Elway Authentic Will Hernandez Jersey , Jim Kelly, Dan Marino) of the six QBs selected.On Thursday, as the five teams with new signal callers looked ahead, all they saw and spoke about was sunshine and success.“We feel he has a very, very bright future,” Jets GM Mike Maccagnan said of Darnold, “and really when you put the whole thing together with quarterbacks, you analyze them from an ability standpoint, you analyze them from a character standpoint, and then you see what you think they can grow into, and we felt very good about Sam from that standpoint.”So what are the challenges ahead for these five potential franchise quarterbacks?BROWNSHistory certainly plays a role here. Since re-entering the NFL in 1999, the Browns haven’t had anything more than stopgap QBs. That’s almost two decades of searching, with the last two seasons’ record of 1-31 as abysmal as it gets.Enter Mayfield, who eventually should beat out newly acquired veteran Tyrod Taylor, if not immediately.Dorsey adeptly evaluated the pros about Mayfield:“It is a combination of things. I talk about hand size; he has 9 6-8th (inch) hands. … That is good for the elements in November and December. He has feet to extend the play. He has really good accuracy. He has a quick release. He has a strong arm. His efficiency in the red zone offense is uncanny.“You know what else separates him? He is hungry. He wants to be a really good football player, and he is going to be a really good football player.”Mayfield also is short for the position at just over 6-foot. He has to adjust to the pro-style offense of coach Hue Jackson. He must show he can take the kind of hits college players couldn’t deliver but the pros do regularly.And while teammates adore him for his leadership skills, there’s also a cockiness and borderline rebelliousness that can take a player (and team) in several directions, not all of them positive.JETSSize is no issue with Darnold. Nor are arm strength or competitiveness.Like Mayfield, he can sit behind a veteran, Josh McCown, who is a good teacher, though that won’t be for too long, either.What must be cured is Darnold’s penchant for turnovers and sloppy plays.“Obviously, we don’t want turnovers on any level Cheap Taron Johnson Jersey ,” coach Todd Bowles said, “but we think his upside and his ability far outweighs the turnovers. And sometimes just trying to do too much, sometimes trying to make the wrong reads and things he can learn from. Getting to know him, we think those things can be corrected, and I know just talking with him personally those things can be corrected.”BILLSAllen might have a higher ceiling than any of the QBs taken Thursday. He’s tall and solid and won’t be bothered by fall and winter weather in Western New York. He’s smart, had a sensational offseason to boost his draft stock, and throws a terrific deep ball among the many spirals he unleashes.Allen also comes from the Mountain West, not the highest level of college conferences, and his career completion percentage is a mere 56.2.“We just think his makeup is going to help him work on his flaws,” GM Brandon Beane says. “We like a lot of his strengths. And that’ll be part of our job here is to accentuate his strengths and work on his fundamentals and the things that his so-called weaknesses are.”Buffalo has veteran AJ McCarron, an infrequent starter with Cincinnati before the Bills brought him aboard this year.CARDINALSAll three of Arizona’s 2017 quarterbacks were gone, most notably the retired Carson Palmer. Although the Cardinals signed Sam Bradford in free agency, it’s conceivable Rosen will win the starting job. Indeed, many NFL personnel people rated him the most ready QB for the pros.Rosen certainly has an edge, which cuts two ways. His competitiveness and desire to outdo anyone and everyone can be a major plus. It also can backfire and lead to impatience and bad decisions.He’s also had some injury issues, including a concussion.“To make a difference, you’ve got to be different,” new coach Steve Wilks said. “I love his personality. He’s wired the right way.”RAVENSIn some ways, this is as intriguing as any first-round selection.Balt.