Joe Lawson is a 25 year old 201cm forward from Indianapolis, Indiana that will begin his fourth professional season and first with the Crailsheim Merlins. He played his first three seasons in the German Pro A. In his rookie season he played with the BiG Oettinger Rockets Gotha (Germany-ProA) playing 38 games averaging 11.6ppg, 4.9rpg, FGP: 59.8%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 69.4%. IN his second season he moved to the Ninners Chemnitz(Germany-ProA) playing 40 games averaging 15.4ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 58.2%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 81.4%. Last season he remained with the Ninners Chemnitz(Germany-ProA) playing 27 games averaging 12.9ppg, Reb-2(7.7rpg), 1.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 80.7%. He played at Indiana SE (NAIA) from 2010-2012 playing a total of 56 games and then moved to Indianapolis (NCAA2) where he played from 2013-2015 playing a total of 60 games and as a senior played 31 games: 19.2ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1spg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 78.0%. He talked to germanhoops.com during the summer about his basketball career.
Joe thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
No problem Miles I´m currently in Indianapolis working out preparing for next season. The Summer has been very busy between visiting family and playing ball in Las Vegas.
Our last and first interview happened in your rookie season with Gotha in November 2015. How has time flown by since then and is Germany your second home now?
Yes time is flying and I´m headed into m 4th season as pro. yes you can call Germany a second home. All my years as a pro I have been there and I’ve met people in Germany that I will stay in touch with for years to come.
Congrats on signing with new easyCredit BBL team Crailsheim. It isn´t often that Pro A players make the jump to the BBL, but many dream about it. Is this like a basketball dream come true for you as you will measure yourself against the best big men in one of Europe´s best leagues?
I believe if you keep working hard no matter what level your at you will end up where you need to be. I definitely been waiting for this opportunity and I´m not afraid of the challenge that’s before me.
How did you experience your first three seasons in Germany in the Pro A in relation to your mentality and easyCRedit BBL? Was that like a goal for you since arriving in Germany to reach the best German league one day?
All three years in the Pro A started and ended differently but I’ve definitely enjoyed the ride. My approach to the game is totally different than it was my rookie season. Playing in the BBL was always the goal after each season In the Pro A.
Your ex teammate at Chemnitz Virgil Matthews is one of those candidates who has been grinding in the Pro A for years, but unfortunately probably won´t get a BBL chance now because of his age. How blessed do you feel getting this chance knowing there are so many talented guys in the Pro A that could play BBL, but never will?
It´s unfortunate the BBL never worked out for him but I´ve seen a few guys in the Pro A over three years that are good players but don’t get the chance to play in the BBL and Virgil with his IQ is one of them. So I definitely feel blessed and understand the opportunity at hand.
The Crailsheim Merlins were really high on your game and already had wanted you a year ago. Was this one of the main reasons why you joined the team?
Yes last season it didn’t work out for me to go there but this summer we made it happen. It´s good to know that your going somewhere where you are wanted.
Let´s talk about your game. Your kind of an undersized big man, but a guy that has a very good inside/out game. If you had to compare your game to a current or old NBA player who would best fit that description?
As a kid Rasheed Wallace on the Pistons was my favorite players and that’s also why I been wearing the number 30.
What other strengths does your game incorporate and what kind of Joe Lawson will we see in the easyCredit BBL?
I work to get better and guarding pick and rolls and having the ability to switch onto guards. You will pretty much see me doing the same things but better. I´m not going to be a totally different player, but just going to stick to my strengths and do whatever Coach asks of me
You stated in our last interview that your passing qualities as a big man was a hidden strength. How has your passing developed as a big man in Germany?
It´s gotten better. I had to kick it out to my shooters whenever I got double teamed in the post.
You have played three very consistent seasons in the Pro A. How do you feel has your game progressed and gotten better in this time?
I´m in better shape and my IQ has gotten better being in different situations and learning from them
You have seen enough easyCredit BBL games in the last three years and know exactly what is awaiting you. How confident are you that you can be an impact player in this league?
Like I said earlier I’m not afraid of the challenge. I wouldn’t step on floor if I wasn’t confident in myself and my abilities. Ill prove that I belong.
It doesn´t matter who I have intervieiwed from Chemnitz, but all are always very positive about head coach Rodrigo Pastore. How influential was he in helping get your game better in your two seasons with Chemnitz?
He’s the one of the most passionate coaches I have played for and he loves the game. One of the ways he helped me progress personally is telling me who I reminded him of and telling me to go watch film on them and try to execute things the way they do.
Was the five game series loss to Gotha where you were up 2 games to 1 and with one foot in the BBL your toughest loss as a professional player. You scored only six points in game five and got only three shots. What did you learn form this series?
That series hurt a lot and if I’m ever in that position again it won´t go down like that.
How cool is it being able to meet Chris Carter in the BBL this season? Two seasons ago, you almost carried Chemnitz to the BBL. He belonged to the best guards in the Pro A and you the best big men. Did you guys ever joke about playing in the BBL one day when you were teammates with Chemnitz?
For sure we talked about it but we weren´t joking and one year later were both here. but on different teams.
How much easier did Andy Mazurczak who moved to Caceres Patrimonio de la Humanidad (Spain-LEB Gold) make basketball life for you last season with his play? What did you like most about the Polish national player and where do you see his basketball journey going to?
Andy is a skilled guard but nothing was easy for me this past season. I missed three games due to injury and really didn’t get a rhythm until it was too late. He can take the game of basketball and go as far as he wants with it. The thing I liked most about Andy was how much he stayed in the gym outside of practice.
What was your wake up call to being a rookie with Gotha where you knew that you were very far away from home?
When I first got my car in Gotha I went to get gas and tried to pay for it but she kept saying she doesn’t have gas. Meanwhile I see everyone pumping their gas and going along with their day. Luckily a guy outside knew English and he explained to me that you have to pump first then pay. That system wouldn’t work whereI´m from and that’s when I knew life was going to be totally different the next 9 months.
You played against so many great players at the NCAA level, but which player was your toughest opponent that is in the NBA now?
At the top of my head Yogi Ferrel comes to mind His team ended my high school career and he played well against my team in college. Its good to see guys from Indiana doing well in the NBA
How does your 2018 summer work out plan look like? On what things will you be working on most so you will be fully prepared for your rookie season?
It depends on the day I´m in the weight room three times a week and I get some cardio done at least twice sometimes more a week. Been working on my Eating habits as well. Ill be ready when I step back on the floor.
If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick old or new?
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate about who is better Lebron or Jordan?
Two of the greatest but in two different times in the NBA its hard to compare.
Tracy Mcgrady said that the Boston Celtics will be the Golden State Warriors of the future. Do you see that happening?
They definitely have potential to be great but the Warriors are a different type of beast.
Deandre Ayton was the #1 NBA draft pick in 2018. Do you feel that from sheer talent and experience that Luca Doncic should have been the real #1 draft pick?
No I feel like each team needs something different and the suns didn’t need a Luca Doncic
How did you follow the 2018 NBA Draft? How cool is it having two Germans being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers?
That’s cool it doesn’t happen often.
Lebron James makes amazing passes in every game, but really showcased it in a game this season against the Los Angeles Lakers. He already is like a point guard, but if he played just point guard and concentrated only on playmaking how many assists do you feel would he average per game?
He would lead the league in assists.
What was the last movie that you saw? Let me guess Black Panther?
No black was a nice one but the last one I seen was Sicario.
Thanks Joe for the chat.