Welcome To The NBA, Ty Lawson

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Welcome To The NBA, Ty Lawson

Title graciously cribbed from Denver Stiffs. But seriously: Ty Lawson. He was sort of an afterthought in the 2009 NBA Draft (went 18th overall to Minnesota, dealt later that night to Denver), but he could end up being one of the biggest steals of the draft class, and a key contributor for one of the NBA's best teams. At the very least, he's given us this tweet to marvel at:



Yeah.. Yeah. For real though. He's going to make them pay. Especially in Denver, a scheme that'll absolutely play to his strengths, and allow him to learn under one of the better point guards in the NBA, Chauncey Billups. But Lawson can help Billups, too.

Now, I'm on record as having picked the Nuggets to win the NBA title this year, so I'm not exactly unbiased, but a big reason I picked them was because of Lawson. As a sparkplug off the bench, he's perfect. He'll come in and push the ball at a breakneck pace--in the NBA, not many second units can keep up with that. Factor in the added rest he'll provide to an aging Billups, and he quietly makes Denver a much better team.

As for his debut last night, he had 17 points in 26 minutes, along with 6 assists. Not bad, as first impressions go. Lawson takes the spotlight at the 1:40 mark of this highlight video:



And SB Nation's Denver Nuggets blog, Denver Stiffs, had this to say about Lawson:

Which brings us to Ty Lawson, who evidently is a quick learner.  When I saw Lawson play in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, I swore he led the league in shots blocked.  Clearly, Lawson has worked hard on manipulating his body to avoid getting his shot blocked and has learned a few more things as well in advance of tonight's game.  Could he have played any better for a rookie debut?  Welcome to the NBA, Ty Lawson!

While another Nuggets blog, Roundball Mining Company, piled on with the Lawson praise:

I have to insert the typical opening night disclaimer of how I know we cannot jump to conclusions after one game, but if Karl trusts Ty Lawson enough to put him out there in the fourth quarter of a tight game against a division rival – in his first career NBA game – I think we can look forward to much more Lawson this season. [...]

My biggest concern for Lawson was his ability to get his shot off in the lane. I think he only had one shot blocked and he made a plethora of forays into the paint to score or get to the line. I could not be more impressed with his play, in once again, his first NBA game.

Sticking with Lawson, he had a very impressive drive in the second half where he started at the rim with his right hand from the left baseline. He picked up his dribble and made a crossover step without dribbling. The result was Lawson was able to get behind the defender, who was expecting him to continue to move into the middle of the floor, and he scored on an open layup at the rim. It was just a beautiful instinctive play. I do not remember ever seeing a player do that before.

It's one game, of course, and nobody's giving Denver the Larry O'Brien trophy or Lawson Rookie of the Year honors. But still: it certainly bodes well for Denver fans that Lawson shined last night. Rookie point guards typically struggle in making the transition--just ask Chauncey Billups--so for Lawson to look so comfortable, so early in his career and at such crucial junctures in the game, you'd have to think he's prepared to handle the transition well.

All the teams that ain't pick him... He's going at their neck. And for the Nuggets, there's no telling how valuable that could be as the season unfolds.

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