No speed limit for Nuggets with Lawson, Robinson on floor
Denver coach Brian Shaw intrigued by prospect of pairing two quick guards
Blurs in the backcourt.
Bolts wearing blue.
The fast and the fearless.
Just a few suggestions to describe the times when guards Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson share the court for the Denver Nuggets.
“It’s going to be controlled chaos,” Robinson said. “We’re going to cause havoc for other teams.”
In an annual survey of the NBA’s 30 general managers this summer, Lawson received two votes as the fastest player with the ball, while Robinson was not listed on anyone’s ballot (Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo were the top three selections).
If Robinson had a vote, his new teammate Lawson would be an obvious choice.
“We’re both fast, but he’s probably quicker with the ball,” Robinson said. “He’s one of the fastest guys I’ve ever seen with the basketball. It’s a work of art. For me to be around a guy like that, it’s going to push me. I’m going to push him, and we’re going to be great point guards.”
Since he arrived in Denver in 2009, Lawson hasn’t had someone with similar quickness to challenge him at both ends of the floor in practice. That changed on the first day of training camp earlier this week.
“It’s been fun playing against him the last three years,” Lawson said. “We always used to get into it, talking trash. To have someone that emotional and ready to play, it’s going to be fun. I can’t wait. The State of Nate is here.”
The Nuggets have always been known for pushing the pace at Pepsi Center, and first-year coach Brian Shaw plans to keep his foot on the pedal, particularly with his two turbo boosters.
“Truth be told, I'm intrigued at the Lawson-and-Robinson combo for certain stretches,” he said. “They are both break-neck pace players that could really wear out opposing defenses. Will they give up some advantages on defense? Yes, but it could be outweighed by what they'll do with the ball.”
As a 6-foot-6 point guard during his playing days, Shaw said he always found it difficult to protect the ball against small, quick opponents such as Muggsy Bouges (5-3) and Spud Webb (5-6). As a counter move, he would take them down to the low post at every opportunity.
Shaw expects a similar strategy from opposing guards when Lawson and Robinson are on the floor together.
“Am I concerned a little bit about their size? Yeah,” he said. “At the same time, I think they both have big hearts and they will fight for every inch of the floor.”
In many ways, the Nuggets feel fortunate to have the option of playing Robinson as part of any lineup combination. They were pleasantly surprised when he was still available nearly four weeks into free agency.
Robinson’s decision to sign with Denver came just a few months after he spearheaded Chicago’s first-round playoff series victory over Brooklyn.
“We do projections prior to free agency, and we thought the market would be a little more kind to him,” Nuggets general manager/executive vice president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said. “We’re very fortunate to have a guy like that. I think if we’re lucky enough to get back to playoff basketball, it’s great for Brian and his staff to know that there’s someone who has done it and is not scared.”
As far as Robinson is concerned, the fear factor will be elevated when opposing guards have to contend with him and Lawson.
“It’s going to be fun but dangerous for other teams,” he said. “To have two dynamic guys with a bunch of energy who are two of the fastest guys in the league, it’s going to be scary.”