Ty Lawson is synonymous with speed, efficiency, and effectiveness. He is one of the main reasons Denver did so well post-Melo, and a key ingredient in the success the Nuggets cooked up last season despite multiple injuries and took a talented Lakers squad to seven games. That Lawson, that had people excited to see the Denver Nuggets, this season, has disappeared and in his place is a shell of his former self.
Ty Lawson has pulled a Nene.
Perhaps, that isn’t fair, but it’s true. It seemed as soon as Lawson inked his $48 million that’s when the ineffective, abysmal Lawson reared his inefficient head.
Last season, he averaged 16.4 points per game on 48.8% scoring, 3.7 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and a PER of 19.43. His FG and 3-point percentage actually increased after the All-Star break in 2012, before the break his numbers were 47.3% and 30.5% respectively. Then, after the All-Star break, his FG% improved to 50.1% and his 3-point percentage skyrocketed to 40.7.
Also, Lawson was phenomenal during the Nuggets-Lakers series, in which Lawson scored 25 points on 47% shooting in Game 3; hit a career-high with 32 points on an amazing 72% shooting during Game 6. Needless to say, when Lawson is on, he’s ONNNNN.
He can slice up a defense like swiss cheese when aggressive, gets to the basket, and is an underrated three-point shooter; he’s able to do the aforementioned because he uses his speed to his advantage, but this season he has went M.I.A.
He has hesitated on the ball to such an extreme that the opponent’s defenses collapse around him which has led to turnovers — like in the Miami Heat game — he may have a clear shot from downtown, but will pause to such an extreme, it will lead to a foiled basket. The other teams — so far this season — have learned how to weaken Ty Lawson.
Blocking his shot and clogging the paint.
And it’s worked.
Lawson will allow a few blocked shots — it’s going to happen — to corrode his confidence and then he becomes useless. He allows the opponents to play a mental game with him, and so far this season, it has worked.
It’s unfortunate to see one of Denver’s best players to struggle this much, but he has to get his head back in the game. It’s not analyzed among statisticians, but a players mental state — good or bad — is indicative of how well a player produces. This is an indicator of Lawson’s performance as of late; he isn’t tapping into the mental fortitude that is required to endure games that are more strenuous than others.
A look into Lawson’s stats, Per 36, from last season and this season gives more information of the staunch difference of the two.
His Per 36 last season, 16.9 points on 48.8% FG, 36.5% 3P, 82.4% FT and this season — although only 11 games in — his Per 36 has dropped significantly; 11.4 points on 37.3% FG, 26.1% 3P, 54.5% from the FT. It’s almost as if it’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; the differences are shocking albeit a small sample size.
If there was an easy solution, Lawson — I imagine — would have already discovered and applied it.
Lawson is an impeccable athlete, he just needs to tap into his mental strength, awareness, and bring the “Law” back to Lawson.