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Lawson Update And How The Offense Changed

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Roy before the Duke game: It is not a high ankle sprain

Roy today: It is a high ankle sprain...."But it's not up as high as some"

I have suspected for a while now that Ty Lawson's ankle was more severely injured than had been previously indicated.  The one thing I do not get is why Roy did not simply label it a high ankle sprain from day one and say he would be out 2-4 weeks?  This is assuming they knew it bad enough for that kind of time frame but I find it interesting that Roy made a point of saying it was not a high ankle sprain(despite Lawson saying it was) and now he is saying it is a high sprain just not as high as others.  The fact that it is a high sprain sort of removes the mystery as to why it has take a month to get him close to returning which he might do against BC on Saturday.  Lawson did actually play some basketball beginning yesterday but nothing that involves contact with other players.  The goal is to increase these drills and hopefully get him to the point he can play on Saturday.  The next two days will dictate that decision.

Speaking of Lawson, J.P. Giglio expounded upon the "Tyler Hansbrough has been better with QT" premise I used in my post advocating Hansbrough for NPOY.  The stats do not line.  Hansbrough has taken an even larger role in the offense since QT has been running the point and that is owed to the fact the offense is running through him now versus with Lawson who often started the offense by himself with penetration and scoring.  It is not a mystery that when UNC lost 13 ppg with Lawson and he was replaced with a pass first PG in Thomas that if UNC somehow maintained close to the same level of scoring the offense would get redistributed. With QT at point, the decision was made to bring Hansbrough out to the key or wing to start the half court set and he would take the pass from the point and then start the offense by either shooting, driving in or passing off and then moving to the post for scoring position close to the hoop.  So more times than not, Hansbrough touches the ball in the half court which is the way the offense should start.

The interesting part of this is there is no doubt that the way the half court offense works right now is probably more efficient than it was under Lawson.  At the same time I would argue that the fast break is not as efficient under QT as it is under Lawson.  In my mind that basically means Lawson needs to adapt the way he runs the offense to be closer to what QT does, at least in the half court.  That does not mean he should not be trying to use his speed to create shots for him or other people but at the same time he should be mindful of how the offense is functioning right now and attempt to do some of those things.  As I said, if Lawson can bring his unique skills and mesh them in with the things that are happening now it will make the offense even more potent.  If that does not happen, there could be some discontinuity on the offensive end.

Also, UNC is playing better defense right now which may be the bigger deal before it is all said and done.  With the way QT has played, you have to wonder if Roy might put Lawson, QT and Ginyard on the floor at the same time as a "defensive unit" to slowdown teams like Duke which does not seem to deal well with two quick guards at the one and two slots.  At any rate, getting Lawson back sooner rather than later would be nice so the team can work through the adjustment process as quickly as possible.