Gani Lawal — #31 PF




Hometown: Norcross, Ga.

Birthdate: November 7, 1988

Height: 6-9

Weight: 234

Position: PF

Experience: Rookie

Draft: 2010, 46th overall by Phoenix

College: Georgia Tech

2010-11 Salary:$473,604
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2010-11 Season Outlook: The Suns didn’t draft Lawal expecting to get a player who will start or even contribute significant minutes. In fact, Lawal may be the new Earl Clark/Taylor Griffin for this season, getting spot minutes and clean up duty as the team develops his game.

The three-year contract the Suns gave Lawal, including a first-year guaranteed salary, shows that they believe he can be a valuable piece in the future. With the likes of Channing Frye, Hedo Turkoglu, Hakim Warrick and Earl Clark vying for the power forward minutes, Lawal likely won’t see too much time on the floor.

Lawal is known for his ability to run the floor, which is something that’s particularly important in the Suns’ system. He also possesses above-average athleticism, but whether that translates to the NBA (beyond summer league play) has yet to be seen.

He’s widely regarded as a good defender and rebounder, which the Suns need, and could play an important role in that respect in the Suns’ future. Lawal is a future piece for the Suns and 2010-11 should be a building and growth year for him.

Biography: Gani Oladimeji Lawal, Jr. shined in three seasons at Georgia’s Norcross High School, earning McDonald’s All-American honors in his senior season along with the state’s Mr. Basketball 2007 title. Moving on to Georgia Tech, Lawal averaged 7.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. After his second season with the Yellow Jackets, in which he averaged 15.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, Lawal declared for the NBA Draft, but changed his mind and withdrew to play his junior season. The big man’s numbers dropped in his third collegiate season as he averaged 13.1 points and 8.5 rebounds (third in the ACC) per game to finish with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.2 rebounds. In his junior season, Lawal was named to his second All-ACC Third Team.

The Phoenix Suns made Lawal their top draft pick in 2010 with the 46th overall pick. Lawal went on to play in the Las Vegas Summer League for the Suns and led the summer squad in scoring (15.4 points per game) and rebounding (7.4 rebounds per game). On August 1, 2010, the Suns signed Lawal to a three-year contract.

Links to ValleyoftheSuns coverage of Lawal:

Gani Lawal starring in Polish league, feeling stronger after knee injury

Gani Lawal takes his talents to Poland

Gani Lawal tears ACL, out for the year

Earl Clark, Gani Lawal bring different temperaments, but both appear to be a year away

Phoenix Suns get size, upside in 2010 NBA Draft with Gani Lawal and Dwayne Collins