Welcome to 2017 everybody. It’s time to kick off the New Year’s resolutions that you’re going to eat better, sleep longer and generally live a better life.
For the Sacramento Kings, their first resolution seems to be to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006. So far, they’re doing a good job. As it stands right now, they’re sitting in the eighth seed with a full game lead over the Portland Trail Blazers. Yes, the Kings are 15-19 but you have to learn to walk before you run.
One of the most important pieces to a playoff team is the point guard. He’s the one who brings the ball up the floor, calls out the plays and is responsible for the pace of the team. Today we’re going to look at the backup point guard who’s been playing well as of late, Ty Lawson.
You remember Lawson, right? He’s the former first round pick out of North Carolina who averaged over nine assists less than two years ago and made it to the playoffs in his first four years in Denver. The man had All-Star potential until off the court troubles flipped his career sideways last season.
Now, with a second chance in Sacramento, Lawson is showing that he’s still a capable backup going forward in the league. Is he the guy who averaged 15.2 points and 9.6 assists two years ago? No, but, as mentioned earlier, baby steps.
Right now, for the Kings, Lawson is the backup point guard. Here are his averages through 33 games:
Ty Lawson: 7.9 PPG 4.2 APG 2.8 RPG 1.2 SPG 40% FG 30.2% 3PT 77.9% FT
His numbers aren’t too bad when you look at backup point guards around the league. His assists have dropped a little bit since going to the bench but that’s to be expected when your minutes decrease as well. Take a look at the numbers for the backup point guards for the number two and three seeds in both the Western and Eastern Conference.
For Toronto, Corey Joseph averages 8.7 PPG, 2.8 APG and 2.8 RPG.
For Boston, Marcus Smart averages 9.5 PPG, 4.3 APG and 3.9 RPG
For San Antonio, Patty Mills averages 10.6 PPG, 3.5 APG and 1.8 RPG
For Houston, Patrick Beverly averages 9.1 PPG, 4.4 APG and 6.3 RPG
Their numbers are relatively similar to Lawson. Take a look at Lawson to begin the year in the video below starting at the 2:30 mark. You can see Lawson’s ability in both the pick and roll plays as well as drawing defenders in and then kicking it out to an open DeMarcus Cousins for a three.
Even this video of Lawson shows his passing skills and his ability to both shoot the three ball and pass either when covered or when he sees the open man against the Timberwolves. Start the video 45 seconds in.
The last nine games Lawson has played (excluding the New Years Eve Game when he left early with an injury), the team is 6-3 and Lawson is averaging 11.3 points and 1.7 steals while shooting 48 percent from the field.
In the game against the Utah Jazz, Lawson was asked to do a little more scoring than usual (19 points) and was up to the task helping the Kings with the one point victory in Utah. Here’s a look at how he scored both with fade away shots and driving to the basket. Watch from 59 seconds on.
So what do we know about Lawson? We know that he’s still one of the quickest players in the league.
We know that he still has the ability of being a very capable point guard, even if only off the bench, and we know that he still has the potential to get better coming off of a terrible season last year.
Is he Russell Westbrook or Chris Paul? No, but the fact that you can still see flashes of the old Ty Lawson lately is a good sign for a team doing all they can to scratch and claw their way into the playoffs again.