After a breakout 2011-12 season, Ty Lawson has struggled to find his groove while his Denver Nuggets continue to flounder. Lawson’s scoring has dropped by nearly three points compared to last season, and his shooting percentages have fallen off a cliff. Worse yet, he doesn’t seem to have taken any significant steps in other parts of his game.
Lawson is primarily a scoring point guard, so it’s troubling to see his shots continuing to evade the net as we near the season’s midpoint.
Though the most obvious flaw in his game has been poor shooting, this may be due to a deficiency in another area: passing.
Lawson is averaging a solid 6.9 assists per game so far in his fourth season, but he has the opportunity to do better. As the point guard of an uptempo team like the Nuggets, Lawson should be averaging at least eight assists per game, especially considering the incredible talent level present on Denver’s current roster.
He's undoubtedly a talented scorer, but in order to address his shooting woes, he must first establish himself as a facilitator. By focusing on distributing rather than scoring, Lawson will be able to draw attention away from himself, opening up a greater number of easy looks and ultimately allowing his confidence to return to its previous level.
The proof? Lawson scored 17 points in each of the two games this year in which he notched more than 10 assists. He's simply dealing with a prolonged shooting slump that shouldn’t be any major cause for concern. Kevin Love has had to deal with a similar slump in his limited action this season, and such stretches of inaccuracy are not all that uncommon amongst elite NBA players.
However, Lawson’s has lasted longer than it ought to, and he must expand his facilitating in order to open up the floor and provide the spark the Nuggets need to become true contenders.
All stats accurate as of December 29, 2012.