Re-drafting the 2009 NBA Draft: 2) Ty Lawson, Toronto Raptors
Penciled in as a late first-round pick, North Carolina Tar Heels guard Ty Lawson drew comparisons to fringe All-Stars guards like Terrell Brandon. Had he not succumbed to his struggles with alcoholism, his career was arguably headed in that direction.
In our timeline, the Minnesota Timberwolves took Lawson with the 18th overall pick. But since they used their two lottery picks on point guards, they shipped him to the Denver Nuggets for a 2010 first-round pick that became Luke Babbit.
Lawson became the Nuggets’ full-time starter by his third year and flourished in George Karl’s fast-paced egalitarian system, averaging 16.4 points and 8.0 assists with a .453/.358/.773 shooting line.
During his time in the Mile High City, Lawson flashed a twitchy pick-and-roll game and some solid playmaking skills for a team that peaked at 57 wins in 2012-13, though you could argue that he wasn’t the best player on that team.
This alternate scenario would see the Toronto Raptors take Lawson here instead of DeMar DeRozan. In a way, this would’ve spawned immediate results for the franchise.
Lawson would’ve been a slight upgrade over the craftier but less athletic Jose Calderon and a Lawson/Chris Bosh two-man game would’ve helped the Raptors earn a few more playoff berths. It could have even been enough to keep Bosh north of the border.
However, this would’ve likely kept Toronto from picking up Kyle Lowry off the scrap heap. Without DeRozan around to come up short against LeBron James in the playoffs, the Raptors probably never make the trade for Kawhi Leonard, meaning we wouldn’t get this iconic laugh or this iconic shot.