Ty Lawson Is A Brutally Efficient Offensive Player

Ty Lawson is a brutally efficient offensive player.

How efficient? Currently, Lawson’s field goal percentage (61.9) is good enough to land him in the top-5 among players a foot taller than he is. While this number will surely regress towards the mean, Lawson has been a “50-40″ shooter ever since arrived in Denver. His TS% is in elite company with percentages in both rookie and sophomore years teetering around the 60% mark (similar to players like Chris Paul, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant).

How brutal? After observing all of Lawson’s shot attempts with Synergy Sports Technology:

  • 56.1 percent (23 of 41) of Lawson’s attempts have come from layups or short runners.
  • Of the 41 shots he’s attempted in the three games thus far, only 18 were jumpshots.
  • 12 of those 18 jumpers were from 3-point range, where he is shooting 42 percent (5 of 12).
  • And of the six jumpers that weren’t 3-pointers, only two of them were from beyond 18 feet.

This is all incredible, especially for a player who stands at around 5’11”. Few can match his burst of speed after a hesitation dribble, and even fewer can match his top end speed racing down the floor in transition. Defenders are forced to give him space to account for his quick penetrating ability, which unfortunately means giving him space usually reserved only for Rajon Rondo.

Over at Heat Index, Tom Haberstroh discusses the efficiency taking shots at different areas of the court in relation to LeBron and Wade’s intriguing lack of 3-point attempts. Haberstroh denotes the three most efficient shots on the court: the free throw line, at the rim, and the 3-point line. Considering shots at the rim and 3-pointers make up about 85 percent of Lawson’s attempts thus far, Lawson isn’t just playing at an unconscious level — like, say, Nick Young has for his entire life — Lawson is making a concerted effort to take the right shots, and it’s working.

Of course, manipulating small sample sizes this early in the season usually doesn’t bode well for observing the season at a larger scope. However, looking at Lawson’s stats from the past two years, he’s always been a player with fantastic percentages for his position and size. The Nuggets have had two impressive offensive outings against the Mavericks and the Jazz, and a miserable one against the Blazers. But one constant in all three games was Ty Lawson’s ability to create for himself. While the team will continue to be an offense-by-committee simply due to their depth, Lawson’s emergence and continued development as a reliable go-to scorer can make a big difference come playoff time.

Seth Carstens