In the Denver Nuggets’ loss to the Miami Heat last Thursday, Ty Lawson had zero points in over 36 minutes. Let me say that again: Lawson had no points. He was 0-7 from the field and had zero free throw attempts in the Nuggets 98-93 loss to the defending NBA champions who were missing Dwayne Wade. While the Nuggets try to find themselves, Lawson’s absence helps explain the team’s 4-6 record.
In Saturday’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Lawson was a team worst -29 points while on the floor. Although he did play more than any of his teammates in the game, the negative production from Lawson is becoming a trend; during the last week as the Nuggets are on a three game skid. Suddenly, aggressive Ty Lawson is gone.
In last year’s seven game series against the Los Angeles Lakers, much of the success for the Nuggets was based on the Ty Lawson offense. When the team was running down the court Lawson would dart into the lane and do one of three things: pass out to the perimeter, drive to the lane and shoot, or give it off to a big man down low. Especially in the Heat game, Lawson ran up the court and stopped at the three-point line, thus ending the aggression. The Denver Nuggets success is based on energy and Lawson, at 5’11”, is a catalyst for that.
The Nuggets problems on the floor seem to be communication issues and the high-flying Lawson, who earned a $48 million contract extension, is the communicator at point guard. While the veteran Andres, Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller, can help on the floor, Lawson is the player who needs to be great for the Nuggets to win and that starts with aggression.
The most worrying part about an inconsistent Lawson is the lack of a backup plan. Miller cannot play full time point guard at age 36 and the only other point guard on the roster, Julian Stone, is a sophmore who is currently injured. With the other positions, especially center, the Nuggets have back up plans. Lawson needs to find his “swagger,” or the Nuggets high hopes will be returning to sea level.