Ty Lawson has been the heart of the Nuggets' nine-game winning streak. If Denver wants to advance deep into the playoffs Lawson will be at the center of that, too.
The Nuggets are a team without a defined superstar who rely on Lawson to set the tone. So it's no coincidence that Denver's early-season struggles mirrored Lawson's disappointing performance out of the gate. When Lawson failed to live up to the expectations set by his new contract, it was only fitting the Nuggets failed to live up to their expectations as a team.
Over the past two months, though, the Nuggets have been a better team mainly because of their helter-skelter point guard. From the start of the season until Dec. 31, Lawson averaged 13.6 points per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 32 percent from three-point range. Since the year turned 2013, Lawson has averaged 22 points per game on 50 percent shooting from the field and 42 percent from three. Is it any surprise the Nuggets have gone 24-7 over that span?
It's an obvious statement to say that Lawson holds the key to the Nuggets' chances and most Nugget fans would agree upon how much of their recent success is due to Lawson's performance. But if the Nuggets want to win the Western Conference, Lawson must improve in these five areas to take Denver's game to the next level.