Ty Lawson Headed to Rockets in Trade
Ty Lawson’s act had worn thin with the Denver Nuggets and the Houston Rockets needed a major upgrade at point guard. Lawson’s second DUI this year proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, as Denver finally found a way to part with him by nailing down a deal with the Rockets.
Houston gave up a lot by number to acquire Lawson, but little in substance. In a trade that looked like a total player dumpaing, the Nuggets receiver role players Nick Johnson, Kostas Papanikolaou, Joey Dorsey and Pablo Prigioni, in addition to a protected future first round pack, as well as a second round draft pick.
Ultimately, Denver gets a second rounder and a mid-first rounder and a band of players that will likely never make a huge impact. That’s still not a bad get for a player they no longer wanted, though, especially with rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay primed to take over as the franchise’s lead point guard.
While Lawson definitely was on his last leg in Denver, it had nothing to do with his actual playing ability. Lawson was about as good as ever during the 2014-15 NBA season, when he averaged over 15 points and nearly 10 assists per game.
Lawson’s inside-outside game made him one of the best players in the league when it came to offensive production, as he was routinely involved in scoring players – either as the shooter or the passer than led to the basket. Lawson’s shooting percentage from the floor dropped form the floor for the fifth year in a row, but the normally steady shooter was asked to carry much of the scoring load in Denver for the third season in a row.
Now in Houston with stars James Harden and Dwight Howard, it’s entirely feasible for Lawson to have one of his more efficient seasons yet. Harden specifically begged the Rockets to find a way to bring in more talent at the point, as Harden was asked to handle the rock far too much a year ago.
As great as Lawson has been as a scorer and passer, he’s also a great defensive addition as one of the better two-way point guards in the league. Lawson does lack size and isn’t the most explosive athlete, but a strong, compact build allows him to over-power point guards on both ends, while his underrated quickness allows him to stay in front of most guards on the other end.
Lawson’s addition likely makes him Houston’s starting point guard for the 2015-15 NBA season and slides normal starter Patrick Beverley to the bench. That’s potentially a huge move, as it gives the team an extra scorer and shot creator in the starting lineup, while Beverley, the defensive ace, gives them extra depth off the bench.
The Rockets made the Western Conference Finals last year but suddenly saw their 2015-16 title odds take a minor hit due to a less than impressive run during free agency this summer. The team held onto Beverley and Corey Brewer, but lost Josh Smith and failed to land any impact free agents. Lawson certainly qualifies as an impact addition, however, and if everything breaks the right way, Houston’s main weakness could suddenly be a strong point next season.
The Rockets still may have to answer for inconsistency at the four spot, but with rookie Sam Dekker possibly playing some stretch four and big man Donatas Motiejunas (back) returning to full strength, Houston could be as good as ever. Already a decent team to pick to win it all next year (25/1 odds to win it all), Lawson gives the Rockets a much-needed boost and could have them right back in the mix again.
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