Ben Lawson’s Vegas experience wasn’t one filled with gambling and partying as some might expect. No, Ben Lawson was busy winning an NBA Summer League title with the Memphis Grizzlies alongside some of the league’s top young talent.
Hertfordshire-born Lawson was an integral part of the Grizzlies run to the final and got some quality minutes in the tournament, including a stint guarding 7’6 Tacko Fall.
The 7’1 center was one of just two Brits at this year’s Summer League – along with fellow big-man Kavell Bigby-Williams out of LSU – and competed with some of the best up and coming players in the league.
Congratulations on winning the NBA Summer League, it must’ve been an amazing feeling. What is it like being around guys like Brandon Clarke and Grayson Allen and seeing first hand how hard they work?
“Those guys came into the program later as the trades got finalised and their impact was felt straight away. They brought professionalism and class. Grayson gets a tough going in my eyes as being close to him for a few weeks showed me his personality and it doesn’t match the persona people and fans think of him. I was also fortunate to be close with Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr and they weren’t playing but they invested their time in the team and were strong components off the floor when it came to our success.”
You had some quality minutes for the Grizzlies this Summer League and averaged 6 points and 6 rebounds per game. Do you feel like you left everything out in the court and gave it your best shot?
“I know I gave it my best. Are there situations I play back in my head and regret or know I could of done differently? Yes, of course. I could of done some things in better ways, but I am happy with my performances and I went out there and gave it my all for the time I had.”
What differences did you find in the game preparation and training as a whole while with the Grizzlies in comparison to other teams you’ve played for?
“The organisation was running like well oiled machine and being in the middle of Vegas is a big challenge in itself. They ran the whole team to perfection and that made our lives so easy to focus on the details of the upcoming games and nothing else. Summer League comes with its small locker rooms and short warm-ups but we all knew the team was making the best of the situations.”
You’ve been playing your pro-ball out in Japan for a year now, how has that experience been for you?
“Japan was amazing! It took me a couple months to find my groove out there but once I did everything fell into place and it was a tremendous experience. I love Japan and can’t wait to go back in the future.”
What’s the next step for you in your basketball career and what’s the ultimate goal?
“Now that the Summer League is over, I am back with my family in England. I haven’t really had quality family time since I can remember and I know that is the sacrifice we all make to pursue our dreams but I’m definitely going to treasure this time while I have it. In terms of my next step, I got brilliant exposure out there and I know my agent and consultant are working their butts off to find the best positioning for me next season. I’d love to make it to the NBA because that’s the dream for all but I’ve always been drawn to Barcelona as a city and franchise. I think Japan will be a front runner for my location next year and I can see myself having a very prosperous future out there.”
Feature photo – Getty Images / NBAE / Double Clutch illustration – Matthew Wellington