Denver Nuggets Player Review: Ty Lawson

Point guard improved his all-around game again in 2012-13
by Aaron Lopez

During an eight-week stretch from mid-January to mid-March, few – if any – point guards in the NBA were more effective than Ty Lawson.

Attacking the rim with his quickness and making defenses pay for leaving him open on the perimeter, Lawson averaged 20.3 points and 7.0 assists while shooting .506 from the field while helping the Nuggets go 25-6.

Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs was the only other point guard to match those averages from Jan. 13 to March 19 – and Parker played in 12 fewer games than Lawson.

The productivity provided a glimpse of Lawson’s impact as he emerged as Denver’s most valuable player on a team filled with quality candidates.

A torn plantar fascia slowed Lawson late in the season; he missed eight games in March and April but still averaged career-highs in points (16.7) and assists (6.9).

In six playoff games, Lawson raised his game to new heights, averaging 21.3 points and 8.0 assists in Denver’s first-round series against the Golden State Warriors.

“I thought he was much more responsible and he did try to do some leadership stuff (this season),” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “He was really spectacular in the playoffs and he’s continue to show that he can play playoff basketball.”

Continuing an upward trend, Lawson has increased his scoring and assist average in each of his first four seasons, but he remains hungry to prove that he deserves consideration as for an All-Star selection.

“I’m going to work hard this offseason to add things to my game,” he said. “I did that every year. It’s going to be a long summer of hard work and just getting better.”

March 7, vs. Los Angeles Clippers
With the Nuggets battling for seeding in the West, Lawson had 21 points, 11 assists and six rebounds in a 107-92 win over the Clippers. Lawson went 9-of-15 from the field and didn’t commit a turnover.

Lawson recorded five games with at least 10 assists and zero turnovers, which tied Clippers point guard Chris Paul for the league lead.

2013-14 OUTLOOK
Based on his strong play after Jan. 1, Lawson could be on the verge of a breakout season. His ability to continue to hit the 3-point shot and mid-range jumper will be key as defenses try to contain his penetration. If he comes out clicking from opening night, expect to see Lawson earn his first All-Star selection.