NBA Draft 2021

Canadian 2021 NBA Draft prospect AJ Lawson reflects on life-changing pre-draft process

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AJ Lawson [NBA Getty Images]

Canadian 2021 NBA Draft prospect AJ Lawson gives his first-hand account of his journey to the NBA.

In his second blog for NBA.com, Lawson talks about his pre-draft process so far. From starring at the G League Elite Camp to being one of the select few prospects to get the call up to the NBA Combine, the Brampton, Ontario native touches on his experiences in Chicago, showcasing his skills in front of scouts, coaches and executives.

You can check out Lawson's first blog for NBA.com here.


The month of June was an exciting month. It changed my life for the better.

I have been dreaming about playing in the NBA since I was a kid and now the 2021 NBA Draft is weeks away. My journey has never been easy and I take pride in being the underdog that beats the odds. I feel like I have gotten accustomed to being overlooked and that is why I play with that chip on my shoulder every time I step on that court. I am looking to be the best version of myself and show everyone what I am capable of doing on the court.

I have had two workouts with NBA teams so far - first with the Cleveland Cavaliers and second with the Boston Celtics. I felt both went well and it was good to be out there showcasing in front of two NBA staffs. With both workouts, I have learned something new and as a student of the game, I am always looking forward to learning new things so I can improve next time around.

While patiently waiting for the NBA Combine and the G League Elite Camp invitations to come out, hoping to be on one of the lists, I was in Miami training with my agency and working on my craft. When the lists came out, I was not on either of them. I remember getting an email saying that I was a reserve for the G League Elite Camp and if someone was not able to come to the event, I would be filling in. I was dissapointed but I used that frustration to go harder in my trainings.

I received an email a couple days later saying that I was invited to the camp and that I would be heading to Chicago. I thanked God for the opportunity and knew that I was coming to the camp with a chip on my shoulder. I was told by my agent that some guys will be called up to the NBA Combine if they played well and that was my goal from the start - to get called up.

Landing in Chicago I remember having an excitement of the opportunity that was to come. I had testings, measurements and interviews - which I think I did well in - and two 5-on-5 full court games. It was fun being out there competing with the guys and learning from the coaching staff that was there to help us.

On the last day of the G League Elite Camp, I was sitting in my room and at about 9 p.m., I heard a knock on my door. It was one of the G League staff members telling me that I got called up to play in the NBA combine. I was so thrilled and blessed to know that my hard work and dedication was paying off and that I had another opportunity to go out there and showcase myself even more.

I knew even though I got the call up to the NBA Combine, that the job was not finished. I came in ready to go and was determined to prove what I am capable of doing on the court.

The NBA Combine had the same measurements and testing as the G League Elite Camp and two additional games. My team went 2-0 at the Combine and it was a joy to go out there and play the game I love and compete at a high level. After my second game at the NBA Combine, which was the last day, I had a good performance and went on live television to talk to ESPN's Mike Schmitz about my journey.

I told him I was the hard worker that was always overlooked, and I am that guy that will beat the odds even when people do not think it can be done. I was not supposed to be where I am today, but because of hard work, determination and playing with a chip on my shoulder, I believed in myself and overcame challenges where I wasn't expected to prevail.

Two days after the combine, I had my Pro Day where many NBA scouts, coaches and general managers were in attendance. I brought the energy and proved to teams that I can knock down my shot, I am an explosive athlete and that I can handle the basketball. I truly believe in myself and I am ready for the next level.

I showed out against the guys in the Combine and I do not feel there are 30 guys better than me in this draft. I believe in my abilities of being a two-way combo guard that can play and defend positions 1-through-3. I trust in the work I put in and believe that this year in the draft, I will shock the world.

July 29th, I am coming for you.

Keep up to date with AJ Lawson's journey to the NBA on Twitter and Instagram.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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