Jun 19 2015

Nuggets PG Ty Lawson’s Elite Assists-Turnover Ratio May Not Keep Him in Denver

When the Denver Nuggets made their final visit to Los Angeles in April, I was able to catch up with PG Ty Lawson:

Statistically speaking, Lawson is an ideal point guard. I mentioned to Lawson the assist-turnover ratio. It’s usually good. It’s great now.  Lawson finished with a 3.89:1 assist-turnover ratio this season, second only to Clippers All-Star PG Chris Paul (4.41).  Over the previous three seasons, Lawson’s ratio was 2.72:1, so he made a significant improvement. For comparison’s sake, Golden State Warriors All-Star PG Stephen Curry, the 2014-2015 MVP, has an assist-turnover ratio of 2.31:1 over the past four seasons.

The volume on those dimes are heavy too, as he put out 9.6 per game over 75 games. That average, along with the 720 total, trailed only Paul and Washington Wizards All-Star PG John Wall. Lawson had 36 games this past season with at least ten assists; again, only Wall (44) and Paul (42) had more.

And Lawson can score. He’s an average shooter (percentages of 43.6 from the field, 34.1 from three, 73.0 from the line), but he averaged 15.2 points per game at 5’11”. That was a four-year low, but he still got to the free throw line 4.8 times per game, the mark of a scorer. The only point guards to shoot more than Lawson’s 363 free throws this past season were Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star PG Russell Westbrook, Phoenix Suns PG Eric Bledsoe, Portland Trail Blazers All-Star PG Damian Lillard, and Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star PG Kyrie Irving.

Finally, Lawson has shown the ability to force turnovers, though his defense has never been a plus in Denver; the Nuggets have only been above average defensively once in Lawson’s six seasons. 1

Lawson is halfway through a four-year, $48 million deal he signed in 2012. The Nuggets fired head coach Brian Shaw in March, and replaced Melvin Hunt with former Sacramento Kings head coach Michael Malone this month. Nuggets GM Tim Connelly criticized Lawson after a series of off court issues popped up the last two seasons. It looks like after six years in Denver, the 27-year-old Lawson is probably moving on soon.

It will be interesting to see where Lawson ends up. His first NBA head coach, George Karl, is now the head coach in Sacramento. Hunt has moved on to Dallas as an assistant – Lawson may have wanted to play for the Mavericks when the season ended. But point guard is the deepest, most dispensable position in the NBA now. It’s not a surprise that Denver may be having difficulty trading him.

ESPN SportsNation chat with Chad Ford

ESPN SportsNation chat with Chad Ford

Lawson has the talent to be an impact player, and he’s in his prime. He’s coming off a season where he started a career-high 75 games. But as he said, “stats will speak for itself … winning games, that speaks volumes.” Whether it’s in Denver with a new coach, or somewhere else with a new team, Lawson is going to have to build up trust in an unfamiliar situation. He’ll be a player to watch next season – hopefully he handles the hot seat as well as he protects the rock.


Show 1 footnote

  1. 2012-2013, which was 2015 Finals MVP SF Andre Iguodala’s only season with the Nuggets before going to Golden State.

1 ping

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