Is Ty Lawson's New Contract the Bargain of the Season?

Ethan Sherwood Strauss@SherwoodStraussNBA Lead WriterOctober 31, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 31: Ty Lawson #3 of the Denver Nuggets drives to the net on Jrue Holiday #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on October 31, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Ty Lawson's four-year, $48 million contract (via Marc Stein, ESPN) may have looked pricey, but then a few hours passed. The deadline extensions that followed made Lawson's deal into a relative steal. 

I can abide four years, $44 million for the oft-injured Stephen Curry, but $42 million for DeMar DeRozan? If DeRozan represents the market floor, Nuggets fans should be more than pleased by the Lawson contract.

Lawson represents Denver's hope for improvement. This is a roster that many people dismiss as lacking a star. When I look at Ty's game, I ask, "Why can't he be one?"

The response to that question is often, "size," but that's more an explanation of why Lawson's been underrated than a tangible gripe about his skills. When you cite "size" you're doing a better job off explaining why Denver got Lawson at No. 18 in the 2009 draft than you are of explaining his deficiencies.

Speaking of that draft, Lawson's made the most impact from its ranks, apart from the maxed-out Blake Griffin and James Harden. Ricky Rubio has had his moments, but Lawson has easily been the most productive point guard from 2009 at a career 18.1 PER rating and .589 true shooting percentage.

The aforementioned "true shooting" percentage encapsulates one of the keys to Lawson's value. The speedy point guard by and large shoots threes and layups. Layups are obviously high-value shots and his three-point stroke is a silky .388 on the career. It all combines to make the little guy an inexorable offensive force. I've showed this clip before, but not every speedy PG can do this:


Best of all, Lawson has some ceiling to get to. You can surmise that the point guard share in Denver's system benefits Ty's game, but an optimist would say that it's been holding him back. Lawson has been a super producer with a mere 19.8 usage rate (Russell Westbrook does what he does at 32.7 usage). If Lawson can keep hitting shots at this rate with more touches, he's an obvious All Star.

There are worse things than signing a super efficient 24-year-old through the wealth of his prime. The Nuggets made a fine choice, making the Toronto Raptors look ridiculous by comparison.