It is game five of the Western Conference Finals, and the only point guard left on the roster after an injury to Patrick Beverly, is Pablo Prigioni. You’re going against the new MVP, Steph Curry, and a Golden State Warriors team that grabbed the number one seed in the West. You do have James Harden and Dwight Howard, but they also have Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes, and Andre Iguodala. By now, it’s quite clear that this deciding game in the series may not go your way.
When James Harden wasn’t playing the point himself, Jason Terry or Pablo Prigioni were at the helm. It’s easy to understand that Harden played the bulk of the minutes during the playoffs and that could have led to him being flat out tired when it came to his double-digit turnover performance in game five.
Enter Ty Lawson, who averaged 35 minutes per game last season and also had 15.2 points and 9.6 assists per game. We all know about his off-court troubles, but he brings a veteran leadership at the point and a player that can give them meaningful minutes when it comes to the postseason. This also helps Beverly in a way. Sure, he may not be starting anymore, but this means he’ll also have some more energy when the postseason comes around so that he can play the type of hard-nosed defense that he’s accustomed to.
Since becoming a starter in the NBA, Ty Lawson has been in the playoffs three times. During those three postseason runs, he averaged 15.6, 19.0, and 21.3 points per game respectively. Also, he dished out 3.8, 6.0, and 8.0 assists per game. In comparison, Pablo Prigioni only averaged 3.1 and 2.3, while Jason Terry averaged 9.2 and 2.8. As you can plainly see, Lawson’s numbers would have been a huge help against the stacked Golden State Warriors.
Lawson’s numbers aren’t the only thing that look to be a positive. The fact that he can bring the ball up and get the offense started himself, means some more off-ball work for James Harden. This comes as a good thing because Harden shot 39.7% from the field on catch-and-shoot opportunities, whereas he only shot 37.3% from the field on pull up shots. Of course, Harden’s bread and butter is his driving ability and knack to get fouled, but if Lawson’s presence means more Harden catch-and-shoot opportunities over pull ups, then that’s already a plus according to shot percentages.
In the end, Ty Lawson is looking like the final piece that this Houston Rockets team needs to win it all. Lawson brings a superior skill to the point guard position that Rockets didn’t have, as well as bringing some positive side effects. The Rockets are going to be scary good, and the West will take notice early.
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All stats from basketball-reference