The Denver Nuggets didn’t have a player selected to the All-Star Game this year, but if Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari continue to play the way they have recently they should reach All-Star status by next season’s break.
Up until recently the Nuggets go-to guy and top scorer was Gallinari. Now, it would arguably have to be Lawson as the Nugget who is counted upon to come up with a basket when needed or hit that last shot to win a game. We just have to look back to the last Oklahoma City Thunder game in which he nailed a step-back jump shot over a taller defender to take the lead with 0.2 seconds left on the clock.
The two are very close in scoring and it remains to be seen who will have more points per game by season’s end.
Gallinari currently sits at 16.4 points per game and Lawson barely ahead at 16.8. The NBA‘s top scorer is still Kevin Durant, he currently averages 28.3 points per game. Lawson as a guard loves to distribute the ball, but of late he has been improving his driving and scoring ability. Defenders really have a handful with his speed and he opens so much else up causing the lane to collapse or open up.
Gallinari might still be struggling with a thigh injury he had a couple weeks ago, but the Nuggets still have managed to win 11 straight with not only the efforts of Lawson but with the efforts of the team as a whole.
Lawson is averaging 45.8 percent on his attempts and 37.1 percent on three-pointers. Gallinari is shooting 42.3 percent and 37.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Both are above the team average in free-throws. The team shoots only 69.2 percent from the line, while Lawson averages 74.5 percent and Gallinari averages 82.4 percent. Lawson could use a little improvement in this key area, especially if he’s going to handle the ball late in the game. If he gets fouled when the other team is losing and trying to get back into it, he needs to be able to step up to the line and nail both.
As a guard Lawson has more assists per game at seven (good for 11th in the league), but as a forward Gallinari averages more rebounds per game at 5.2.
Of late, Lawson has really picked his game up and I think that he will continue to be the player the team goes to when they need a basket. His numbers reflect that decision and his actual play on the court shows he may be close to being an All-Star, closer than Gallinari at least.