Ty Lawson to enter NBA Draft; Ellington too

It’s official: Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington are forgoing their remaining college eligibility and declaring for the 2009 NBA Draft.

Lawson was arguably the best point guard in the country this season and was named ACC Player of the Year. He gutted through a swollen toe in the NCAA tournament, guiding the Tar Heels to a national championship (and f——g my bracket in the process). NBADraft.net has Lawson going #15 (to Detroit, which seems odd considering Joe Dumars has hitched his wagon to Rodney Stuckey), while DraftExpress has him slated for the 11th pick (New Jersey — another odd pairing, considering Devin Harris’ stellar play this season). Both mocks have Lawson behind Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings amongst point guards. Jonny Flynn, Tyreke Evans, Eric Maynor and Stephen Curry are ranked ahead of Lawson in one mock or the other.

I haven’t seen much of Jennings, but I think I’d favor Lawson over the other five right now. He has everything you want in a point guard — good vision, quickness, speed, strength, shooting — except for size, and Chris Paul (and others) have proved that you don’t need to be tall to succeed in today’s NBA.

As for Ellington, I’m surprised to see that NBADraft.net has him going 11th to New Jersey. Draft Express projects him to go with the 30th pick to the Cavs. When I first heard the news that he was going pro, my assumption was that he’d be a second round pick that might sneak into the first round with a series of good workouts. He shot the ball brilliantly in the NCAA tournament and that kind of clutch performance can really boost a player’s stock, but I’d be shocked if he becomes a lottery pick. Wings that can score are a dime a dozen in the NBA, so unless a player has a quality that really makes him stand out — i.e. Gerald Henderson’s athletic ability — they usually end up being late-first round or second round picks. We’ll see.

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