While most of the Carolina fan base is entrenched with the football season, we can not forget that the National Basketball Association will soon be here. With that in mind, and with the fact that this season the NBA will have, barring injuries, sixteen former North Carolina basketball players hitting the hardwoods each night, I have decided to find blogs following the NBA squads that have former Heels on them and ask some questions regarding the players that once called Chapel Hill their college home. Starting off this series is Nate Timmons (@Nate_Timmons on twitter), proprietor and writer of the Denver Stiffs (SB Nation). With Nate I discussed Ty Lawson (@TyLawson3 on twitter), the starting point guard for the Denver Nuggets.
Alex: Give me one word to describe Ty Lawson…
Alex: Give me one sentence to describe the point guard for the Nuggets…
Nate: Ty Lawson is hungry to prove that he’s a top-flight NBA point guard.
Alex: How much of a role do you think that Ty Lawson will have in the 2012-13 season…
Nate: Lawson averaged 16.4 points (team high) and 6.6 assists last season in 61 out of 66 regular season games. In the seven game series against the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the 2012 playoffs Lawson pushed his points per game up to 19 (team high) and scored over 24 points four times.
Consistency has been another word thrown around in regards to Lawson. If he can be the consistent 20 point scorer that he has shown he can be, not only will he lead the team from the point guard position, but he’ll also be the team’s leading scorer again. The sky is the limit with Lawson and the role he can play with the Nuggets. He does defer to veteran Andre Miller when the two are on the court together and with the addition of a playmaker like Andre Iguodala, Lawson again might defer to a guy he respects.
Ty also has a very laid back attitude. Coach George Karl has been harping on Lawson since he came into the league to become a leader and a firey one like he’s used to – Gary Payton from his Seattle Supersonics days. The problem, Lawson’s personality isn’t one that thrives on anger. He is a competitive person, but he also likes to have fun. His career thus far has had its ups-and-downs and there is no reason to believe that he’s reached his potential. We’re very excited to see what is next for Lawson.
Alex: What would you like to see more out of the floor general this season…
Nate: Consistency. As I described above, Lawson can disappear while on the floor and he’s always at his best when he’s controlling the flow of the game. The team responds to Lawson and he needs to realize that and be the consistent player that everyone knows he can be.
Alex: And of course, what would you like to see less out of the point guard this year…
Nate: Lawson getting pummeled going to the paint and not getting foul calls. Ty is a very aggressive player and will go to the rim on anyone; his aggressive play deserves more respect from the men in gray.
Alex: Lawson comes from a college which has had some great point guards in its storied history. Where do you rank the third year pro when it comes to floor generals that have played for the Nuggets…
Nate: George Karl is a big fan of players from his alma mater. The Nuggets recently had another Carolina point guard in Raymond Felton – it didn’t break any hearts when he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers last off-season.
As far as Lawson and where he ranks with other Nuggets point guards, he’s still carving out his place in history. Denver’s top points have been Fat Lever, Chauncey Billups, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Michael Adams, Nick Van Exel, Andre Miller, and Allen Iverson. Lawson can top the list with one not-so-easy feat – winning an NBA title. Billups is the only guy on the list with a ring, but it didn’t come in Denver. The Nuggets have never even played in an NBA Finals, so if Lawson could lead them there – he could also take over the top spot. But it’d be very hard to top Fat Lever.
Alex: In an article on your website you rank Lawson 8th overall as far as current point guards. Do you think that the young man could break the Top 5, and if so, how…
Nate: The point guards I have listed ahead of Lawson: Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, and Steve Nash.
Lawson will move ahead of Parker and Nash based off father time. The popularity contest that is the NBA All-Star game could keep Lawson out of that game for another couple of seasons, but if he increases his scoring and assist rate then he could get into the February classic. As far as becoming a top-5 point guard – he’d have to really increase his scoring, assist rate, and become a much better defender. It’s a big task, but at just 24 years-old he still has time to get there.
Thanks for the interview Alex, I hope the Tar Heel fans are still rooting for Lawson and that some of you will come by Denver Stiffs from time to time and talk Lawson and Nuggets with us!
All I can do is to thank Nate Timmons for this awesome Q&A about the Nuggets floor general, Ty Lawson. For all of you that do follow the former North Carolina basketball players at the next level make sure to follow Nate both on twitter and to check head to his web site frequently for all the information about the Nuggets and of course Lawson. The site itself has its own twitter account if you wish to follow that as well. And of course for more information about North Carolina basketball and/or football make sure to come back often to isportsweb!
For those of us that watched the speedster when in Chapel Hill, here is a small reminder of what he did while donning the carolina blue…
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