You may or may not have heard, but Ty Lawson is having a career year. The 5th year man out of the University of North Carolina is not only playing at an All Star level, but he has put himself in the discussion for top three point guard in the league. Lawson is on pace for career highs in points and assists per game, and that is including a stretch where he played with an injured hamstring. The former Tar Heel has not only developed as a player, but his leadership on the court has risen another level. So what has caused Lawon’s breakout? Is it new coach Brain Shaw’s confidence in him? Is he more comfortable with his teammates? Has he taken the next level in his maturation process? Let’s take a look and find out.
As a point guard your main job should be to distribute the rock, right? I mean, at least that’s how it worked back in the day. In today’s NBA having a scoring point guard is a must. That makes it easy to overlook the actual role of a point guard — to rack up assists. Lawson has improved his distribution skills. Part of the reason why the Nuggets are the most balanced team in the NBA is because Lawson has made sure everyone get involved. So far his assisting percentage is at a career high 37%; up from 30% last year. The impressive part is he has been able to do this while keeping his turnovers low. His turnover percentage 14.3% is the 2nd lowest of his career.
The one knock of Lawson’s game this year is his lack of efficiency. He is shooting a career low 43.8% from the field. Defiantly below the mark you would want for your starting point guard. Over the course of the year I expect that number to pan around 45%. Now, Lawson is not going around chucking up shots. In fact he is only averaging .2 more shots per game than last year. How is he more aggressive you ask? He is finally starting to get to the charity strip. He is averaging a career high 6.6 free throws per game, up from last year’s 4.3. It will be interesting to see if he keeps this up over the course of the season-I think he will.