Ty Lawson didn’t start the season the way fans – and critics – expected him to after inking a new deal with the Denver Nuggets, in fact, Lawson looked like he took a page out of Nene’s complacency book as he struggled to resemble the Lawson fans knew.
Some labeled him as overrated, and to be honest, those critics had a point. Prior to this season, I argued Lawson to be a top 10 point guard (7-10 range) and underrated on top of that. However, his dismal production, weakened penetration, and abysmal shooting, left many wondering if it was all mental with Lawson.
They had a fair point, and I documented about this as well, Lawson looked like a shell of his former self, but low and behold – and just like Danilo Gallinari – Lawson shook off his early season struggles, mentally strengthened his fortitude, and became the Lawson that people knew and clamored for.
I was pretty hard on Lawson – much like Gallinari – because Lawson has always been that player the Nuggets’ front office has been clear about; he’s their future and his early lackadaisical production display was not acceptable.
November: 13.1 points, 40.3% FG, 23.3% 3P, 60% FT, 45.4% TS
December: 14.1 points, 41.4% FG, 37% 3P, 80% FT, 50.7% TS
January: 17.9 points, 47.9% FG, 47.6% 3P, 78.6% FT, 57.2% TS
February: 23.3 points, 50.3% FG, 35.6% 3P, 80.2% FT, 60.9% TS
The shooting numbers are all right there; Lawson has been honest that he’s not over-thinking about offensive possessions. He’s not hesitating as much as he did earlier in the season, as well as, he has finally adjusted to the dribble-drive motion offense and Andre Iguodala.
He’s doing what he’s always done and that is penetrating, attacking the basket, using his speed to drive past opponents, and his three-point shot is easy money this season; just look at his game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
Denver hadn’t won in Portland since the 2009 season, and Lawson led the way breaking down defenses and accumulating 30 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block; not to mention he used leadership on the court and turned the 4th quarter into Ty Lawson time.
Andre Iguodala – is by far the league leader in under-appreciation – as he had the statline of the night of 29 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, 5 steals, and a block. Iguodala was confident all game and you had this feeling he wanted a win – desperately – here. I’m sure many will focus on his abysmal free-throw shooting – it’s kinda bad – but the fact is without Andre on both sides of the ball, Denver loses. Show the man some respect!
Andre Miller was slow and sluggish on defense – but when isn’t he – but the fact he can calm the fellas down is heavily underrated; fans are still clinging to his surly statements which will ultimately leave them in the dust from appreciating one of the best backup point guards in the league. In terms of basketball IQ and cerebral point guard play, Andre Miller is just fantastic.
Many of the other Nuggets had average or below average games, and outside of Anthony Randolph getting solid minutes, it’s nothing to write home about.
Since George Karl is a hot topic recently in terms of local media coverage, they may want to note during this game, Coach Karl was a bit more passionate about some poor officiating and was up off of his keister.
This was a great road win as Denver was executing as a team fans have seen at home; they had that fire, the effort, the heart to squeeze out a win.
Denver will need near perfect execution on Friday as they host the Oklahoma City Thunder.