Why Denver Nuggets' Ty Lawson Will Soon Join the Ranks of Elite NBA Point Guards

Rich Kurtzman@@RichKurtzman Senior Analyst IMarch 6, 2012

Ty Lawson hit a huge shot to tie the game at 98, then a bigger three late in OT to help Denver defeat Sacramento Monday night.
Ty Lawson hit a huge shot to tie the game at 98, then a bigger three late in OT to help Denver defeat Sacramento Monday night.

There's something special going on in Denver, though if you blink, for even an instant, you might miss the blur that is Ty Lawson streaking down court.

Denver, the best NBA team devoid a star, may not carry that stigma for much longer—not if Lawson has anything to say about it.

The Nuggets are hot, winning four straight games, pushing themselves back into the playoff picture despite playing through so many key injuries it would sink any other team.

Starters and pivotal players Danilo Gallinari, Nene, Timofey Mozgov and even Lawson have all missed significant time on the court, which hurt the Nuggets' record as they went 5-10 in February.

However, Lawson wouldn't dare sit idly by as the team struggled—it's doubtful anything in the energetic youngster's life happens at idle—and the speedy point guard has completely taken over the team as of late. The third-year star has shown leadership, put the team on his shoulders and is carrying it along for the ride.

Over his last four games, Lawson's almost achieved a triple-double in each contest, coming closest with 22 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds Sunday night in the 99-94 win over the Spurs. In those four wins—a crucial winning streak coming out of the All Star break—Lawson averaged 19.5 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds per game, while only turning the ball over seven combined times.

It's been ludicrous shooting by Lawson (28-of-62, 45.2 percent), amazing assisting and remarkable rebounding by the smallest player on the court.

His range has expanded, as he's knocking down threes with regularity and his quickness allows him to get to the hoop with ease.

He's facilitating teammates, getting them the ball in position to score.

And most amazingly, he's attacking the rim with reckless abandon, grabbing loose balls to give his team extra possessions.

Simply stated, Lawson's stepped up in every phase of the game. He wouldn't let Denver be denied and he's undoubtedly playing the best basketball of his career.

Without the third-year point's paramount play, the Nuggets would have sunk like stones, likely still sitting on the outside looking in on the playoff teams.

Lawson's leading the Nuggets and he's showing at the same time he's ready and willing to make that next leap. From good to great has already been achieved, and he's now close to going from great to elite point guard.

Of course, with the league being saturated with so many stars at the position, it will be difficult for Lawson to make his mark.

However, he's getting noticed.

Lawson's superb five days of play earned him Western Conference Player of the Week for the first time in his career Monday, a sign that those in the know understand how important he is to Denver's success and how extraordinary his play has been.

Monday night, Lawson continued the spectacular play, scoring 16 points with 13 dimes and seven boards, coming through in the clutch when his team needed him most.

Now Nuggets fans just hope he continues to grow, not just production-wise as we've seen this week, but as an on-court leader, which will make Ty Lawson elite.

Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist actively seeking a career in journalism. Along with being your Denver Nuggets featured columnist, Rich is the Denver Broncos and CSU Rams Examiner columnist and also writes for Blake Street Bulletin, Stadium Journey and Mile High Hoops.

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