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Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 at 12:00 pm  |  70 responses

Top 50: Ty Lawson, no. 35

The Nuggets put their trust for the ’13-14 season in Lawson’s hands.

by Tyler Richardson / @Ty_richardson

The surprising overhaul within Denver’s organization following a 50-plus win season and top-three finish in the Western Conference has cleared the way for Ty Lawson to be the leader of the new school Nuggets.

With Andre Iguodala, George Karl and GM Masai Ujiri no longer in the Mile High City, it’s Lawson who is poised to be the go-to guy for one of the League’s most entertaining teams. (Stop for a second and picture a backcourt of Lawson and Nate Robinson, paired with Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee. What could go wrong?)

Along with playing the role of leading man in Denver this year, Lawson will also be out to show people he is worth the $10 million the Nuggets are set to pay him as part of his contract extension. Lawson has already proved he has the pedigree to lead a team. While others were busy comparing him to Raymond Felton at UNC, Lawson paved his own way and became the first point guard since the late 1970s to win ACC Player of the Year. He also managed to lead the Tar Heels to a National Title that year—he had 21 points in the title game against Michigan State—while putting up career highs in points, assists and steals.

Lawson came to a roster in Denver crowded with veterans and was still able to crack the rotation his rookie season. Once the Carmelo Anthony deal went down the following season, and Chauncey Billups moved on, Lawson saw an even bigger role while splitting time with Felton. He gave the Nuggets more than 26 minutes a game, averaging 11 per, while proving he was more than just a specialty scorer. Of course there was this as well. By the time the ’11-12 season rolled around, Lawson had firmly implanted himself as a starting caliber point guard and has refused to look back since. Lawson’s improved floor game and ability to put defenders on skates helped him creep into the Top 50 last year, where he came in at No. 41 after previously going unranked.

It’s no secret that the now 25-year-old is lightening-in-a-bottle and has the confidence to go at anyone in the League. People have seen him slice in the lane with surgeon-like efficiency and fly from one end of the court to the other for the last four seasons.

Lawson’s improved range—which was once considered a glaring weakness in his game—doesn’t even take his fans by surprise any more. What people are really waiting to see is if the Oak Hill Academy product can consistently play at the All-Star level he routinely flashes. Lawson has seen his numbers plateau since his breakout season of in ’11-12. The 16.7 ppg and 6.9 apg he put up last year are almost identical to the numbers he put up during his ’11-12 campaign.

Hoping to help push Lawson to that elite level is Nuggets first-time head coach Brian Shaw. Shaw, the former Lakers and Pacers assistant, comes to Denver with a reputation for developing young talent (see Andrew Bynum/Paul George/Lance Stephenson).

Though Shaw—who grew up playing in Oakland and won three rings as a player with the Lakers—is set on making the young Nuggets play defense, he also plans to keep some of the up-tempo offense fans in Denver have become accustomed to. That should bode well for his new protégé, who will have the players around him to run the break efficiently.

Here’s Lawson’s take on the affect Shaw could have on the team next season:

“We’re a young team eager to learn. He brings that pedigree from being under Phil Jackson to taking the Indiana Pacers to the Eastern Conference finals,” Lawson recently told the Denver Post. “We’re just ready to soak up all the knowledge that he’s going to give us and hopefully get us out of the first round. That’s our main goal right now.”

Last season’s first round exit at the hands of the similarly youthful and exciting Golden State Warriors was a tough pill for Lawson & Co. to swallow. The Nuggets were the hot pick to ride a wave of lights-out shooting to a deep playoff run. Instead, Lawson watched as Stephen Curry and the Warriors captivated the nation and played a hard-fought series against the eventual Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs.

As he embarks on the most challenging season of his young career, Lawson will try and prove that he is ready to lead his supporting cast full of snipers and athletes over the playoff hump. The $8 million raise the Nuggets gave him is a sign that they trust their speedy point guard to take them there. Now, Ty Lawson must prove to world he is trustworthy.


Where should Ty Lawson rank in the SLAM Top 50?

Loading ... Loading ...
SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2013
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Monta Ellis Mavs SG 5
49 Luol Deng Bulls SF 10
48 Ricky Rubio TWolves PG 14
47 Greg Monroe Pistons PF 12
46 Kawhi Leonard Spurs SF 9
45 Mike Conley Grizzlies PG 13
44 Al Jefferson Bobcats C 9
43 David Lee Warriors PF 11
42 Jrue Holiday Pelicans PG 12
41 Anthony Davis Pelicans PF 10
40 Joe Johnson Nets SG 4
39 Serge Ibaka Thunder PF 9
38 Kevin Garnett Nets PF 8
37 Rudy Gay Raptors SF 8
36 Paul Pierce Nets SF 7
35 Ty Lawson Nuggets PG 11

Rankings are based on expected contribution in ’13-14—to players’ team, the League and the game.

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  • http://www.netstakeover.com/ JetSkiJohnson

    will they run the triangle though?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i’m sorry, but this is not really justifiable. his shooting has regressed every season. his assist numbers aren’t very high for the PG of the fastest paced team in the league. he plays absolutely no defense. none. this is by far the most overrated player on this list.
    .
    Denver’s offense was 2.8 points worse per 48 minutes without him.
    Denver’s defense was 3.9 points better per 48 minutes without him.
    .
    in other words, Denver was 1.1 points better per 48 minutes without Ty Lawson, their point guard..

  • Saleem Rainman

    agree 100%.

  • Saleem Rainman

    Overrated.

  • LakeShow

    Ahahahahahaaahahhahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahaahhahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahaahahahahahhaah……

    Ahahahahahaaahahhahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahaahhahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahaahahahahahhaah……

    hhah heh emmm….

    WTF SLAM?!

  • LakeShow

    I’m not impressed by SLAM’s gall here….

  • Caboose

    Even though he’s regressed each year, he keeps climbing the SLAM rankings….

  • Dfrance

    “Lawson has seen his numbers plateau since his breakout season of in ’11-12. The 16.7 ppg and 6.9 apg he put up last year are almost identical to the numbers he put up during his ’11-12 campaign.”

    Yet you feel like he’ll improve this season? On what grounds SLAM? On what grounds!!!???

  • ATL dynamite
  • ATL dynamite

    Conley and Lawson should be switched in their rankings imo

  • Dundler

    I would like to hear one reason, just the one, for Lawson to be at this number.
    We seem to already be at the point where the top 50 rankings just lose all credibility

  • i_ball

    I think if you swap Lawson and Conley the rankings look OK.

  • spit hot fiyah

    only reason i can think of is that denver got worse and lawson might be asked to shoulder more of the burden which (maybe) will make his numbers jump

  • spit hot fiyah

    his offense is not good enough to make up for his defensive inabilities. too high

  • spit hot fiyah

    well he did hit 10 3′s in a row against the timberwolves a few years back, i guess

  • ATL dynamite

    Donyell Marshall would be very jealous of Lawson then

  • Rockwell

    Damn, this has been the most controversial SLAM Top 50 rankings ever so far.

  • Stepfan Raiford

    Sorry Ty. I know your one of Clinton, Maryland finest and I’m proud of that, but this pick at 35. from Slam is them being a prisoner of the moment from last season. I think Brian Shaw will be good for his career. He’s good player but I don’t think he can lead a team especially with this rag tag bunch of a roster.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    they signed Nate Robinson. They still have Andre Miller on the roster…..so, nope.

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    Is ty Lawson even in the top 10 pg consideration:

    Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook. Stephen Curry, Tony Parker, Mike Conley, Jrue Holiday, Damian Lillard, I mean you can consider Lebron a PG so I’d put lebron ahead of him.

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    Lol i didnt even mention kyrie irving, or john wall

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    and based on this upcoming season. I’m willing to hedge and say either Goran Dragic or Bledsoe depending on suns offense will have better year than Ty Lawson

  • spit hot fiyah

    miller is old (maybe plays less) igoudala is gone and gallo out. who am i kidding, i don’t know i tried to defend this ranking.

    i think u missed it yesterday but after reading your link i asked u if u have read any of gladwell’s books. if so, how do u like them?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Sorry I didn’t see that. Yeah I read outliers and the tipping point when I was in college, I loved those books

  • spit hot fiyah

    did u read freakonomics? are they in that mold?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Can’t say, I never got a chance to read freakonomics, I need to though. But I highly recommend those books.

  • UnsolicitedAdvisor

    It’s interesting that you mentioned “Outliers”. You are familiar with the “10,000 hour rule” then. Do you think that you’ve spent over 10,000 hours commenting on this website or otherwise engrossing yourself in the world of basketball? That’s about 20 hours a week for 10 years. You probably haven’t been on this site for 10 years, but I’d imagine that you’ve spent over 20 hours a week on the aforementioned activities for at least 5 years.

    Will that end up benefiting you nbk? Have you become an “outlier” through this behavior that you engage in? It could be worth celebrating being an outlier in any case, albeit within a realm as inconsequential as a sector of the comment board world.

    Or could it be that you’ve squandered all of whatever potential you might have had by dedicating yourself to being the high authority on a basketball website with about 8 regular commenters?

    Take a walk in the park nbk. Listen to the birds and the wind and take in everything you feel and hear. Evaluate your life and what you are contributing to society.

    You f*ck.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    have you spent 10,000 hours assuming ignorant nonsense? nah? well then. at least we know one of us is not very good at what we are doing.

  • UnsolicitedAdvisor

    No, I spent my 10,000 hours walking around in the park and listening to birds and the wind and all that sh*t. Waste of my godd*mn time.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    LMAO, professional time waster. that’s dope

  • UnsolicitedAdvisor

    You’re alright nbk (tips hat towards computer screen).

  • danpowers

    i think this will be the year he takes a step forward production wise. robinson can also play next to him and miller doesnt get younger. besides that iggy is gone so lawson will need to step up running the point. he also has enough talented players to execute his passes in mcgee, faried, chandler/galinari and foye / the bench mobb. this team can score and defend. only real weak point seems to be their undersized backcourt on defense and the questionmark that comes with a new coach.

    i have less issues with lawson at 35 than i had with the last 3 ranks.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk
  • danpowers

    well, thats less of a waste of time than watching tv lol

  • danpowers

    iggy leaving should force lawson to orchestrate the offense more than before. as already mentioned in here: robinson can play next to lawson and miller doesnt get younger. he could very well take a step forward with more responsibility. mcgee and faried have to potential to be decent pick and roll finishers for lawson, w chandler, galinari, foye and robinson are also capable stations for dimes. this team has potential, we shouldnt rule them out from reaching their potential before the season even started.

  • danpowers

    werent we there the last 3 ranks already?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    you do realize this team expects to make the playoffs right? playing Robinson next to Lawson seems like a good plan in your opinion? for a team trying to win?
    .
    and i’d rather put my opinion out there with the potential to be wrong, then just sit idly by and wait. Denver is going to be a massive disappointment this season. And Ty Lawson’s season will finally show what he is as an NBA player. Good, but nothing special.

  • danpowers

    “you do realize this team expects to make the playoffs right? playing
    Robinson next to Lawson seems like a good plan in your opinion?

    for a
    team trying to win?”

    not all the time, but for some minutes this should be bearable for them.

    i hope that you are wrong about this. they will have a hard time tho to compensate galinaris absence. imo theyll need every key player healthy for almost the whole season to have a legit shot at the playoffs now that karl and iggy are gone.

    the x factor i worry more about than lowry is mcgee tho. his talent is out of question, i just wonder if he will really turn into the double double machine the nuggets seem to expect him to become. guess if there will be a big disappointment among the nuggets, it will be him.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    let’s just say the team was considerably worse with JaVale McGee on the floor. And they just added literally the worst defensive 4/5 in the league to share minutes with him in JJ Hickson.
    .
    losing Kosta Koufos is about to be the biggest loss of the year for them. watch.

  • danpowers

    well, lawson and mcgee dont necessarily have to be the same players they used to be last season, but i see why you doubt them. i also have my doubts about them, i just wont rule it out to see them make the playoffs if lawson and mcgee take a step forward.

    isnt faried going to be their starting 4 and hickson just a backup?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Faried will start, yes. Hickson will play more Center than anything. So the Nuggets will feature 2 very similar players at almost all times.

  • danpowers

    at least this will be “interesting” to watch lol

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i honestly just feel bad for Brian Shaw. He’s been deserving a shot for years, and now he got it……on a team that is going to totally implode.

  • Dundler

    Yes. Yes we were. Sigh

  • Dundler

    Cosign. Of all the possible jobs Shaw was always rumoured to be in the mix for and then passed over to land in this…Nuggets have definitely had one of the fastest franchise collapses (in terms of front office etc not just on the court) after being absolutely superb with the Melo trade

  • Dundler

    Haha I love how much Hickson gets dumped on

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    *FIXED*

    .

    Haha I love how much Hickson gets dunked on

  • Dundler

    Out of interest, where do you think Aldridge lands? (can’t be bothered to go back and find your list)

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he won’t land where he is on my list. he’ll be like 18 on here

  • Dundler

    Damn 18. Seems low, but I get their reasoning. I suppose

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it’s not “reasoning” it’s a collection of lists from like 40 writers. the scores are just based on averages. that’s why there are some really weird names in really weird places. some guys are way over valued, some of the writers probably watch about 1/10th of the basketball that some of us do.

  • Dundler

    Damn them and their not having enough time to just sit down and argue until a cohesive list is obtained

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i’m fairly certain most of them don’t even live in the same city, or state.

  • Dundler

    Damn them, further

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    LOL, i just respect that they do this every year. Especially Ryne, who is tasked with sorting all of this out. That guy puts in a ton of work.

  • Dundler

    We moan a lot, but when it was late this year and thought they wouldn’t do a top 50 this year, was genuinely disappointed. Its definitely a massive amount of work that they do and then watch as we talk about how wrong they are

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    nah man, this is when they always do the list. well it used to be one a day for 50 days before the season started, but 3(ish) years ago they started doing 2 a day during the first half of the list, so they pushed the date they publish back. gives guys more time to write their pieces too.

  • Dundler

    Really? Huh. I’ve read every one as they’ve come out, didn’t realise they’d been doing two a days that long

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah, i didn’t notice the change that first year either.

  • danpowers

    arent you a little too pessimistic about them? i mean sure, they dont have a super star on the team, but they have got above average players on almost every position. karl made that concept work, maybe shaw can get that done, too.

    about koufos and mcgee: koufos was better last year, but mcgee has mad upside. he is long enough in the league to assume he finally has all the tools necessary to live up to his potential and not old enough to quit on him. i tink theres a 50/50 possibility for him to turn into an elite center next season.

    i also think that lawson has even a better chance to step up.

    thats still all up in the air. they could implode like you say, i just dont think that this is certain.

  • AndyK415

    Great point!

  • AndyK415

    nbk, do you think Rubio or Lawson would have been a better fit for MN?

  • http://triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    I think as soon as Lawson and to a greater extent McGee realise that they get more than one possession of the ball they will both play with the required maturity that Shaw is going to need…. McGee’s personal goal should be to avoid “shaqtin a fool”…

  • danpowers

    he should at least try to avoid it on a weekly basis lol

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