Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson shrugs off heavy workload

Denver coach Brian Shaw limited by options in the backcourt
by Aaron Lopez

As the only true point guard available for the Denver Nuggets, Ty Lawson is in the midst of an endurance test.

Lawson played 39 minutes Friday night against the New York Knicks, falling just short of his 10th 40-minute game in a span of six weeks. In his five NBA seasons, He has logged at least 40 minutes 30 times, with nine coming in the past 17 games.

Aches and pains are natural side effects of a heavy workload, but Lawson is happy to shoulder the responsibility as the team's leading scorer and playmaker.

“I’m good, man,” he said. “I’m ready to play. Play me as many minutes as you want to. I’m ready.”

With Nate Robinson out for the season with a knee injury and veteran Andre Miller excused from the team for personal reasons, Nuggets coach Brian Shaw has limited options at the point.

Shooting guards Randy Foye and Evan Fournier took turns running the offense when Lawson missed back-to-back games last week with a shoulder injury. Denver lost both games.

Lawson returned Monday against the Los Angeles Clippers and played a season-high 45 minutes in Denver’s one-point victory. The Nuggets were outscored by nine points in the 3 minutes he was on the bench to start the second quarter.

In Wednesday’s win against the Milwaukee Bucks, Lawson was a plus-16.

“When he goes out of the game, we start to really struggle to find where we’re going to get our offense from,” Shaw said. “The more reps that Evan gets being out there with Randy, we’ll get better at it, but right now it’s a struggle.”

The only person who has played more minutes that Lawson of late is Foye, who recently logged 40-plus in four straight games – equally his total from the previous two seasons combined.
In those four games, Foye averaged 19.3 points and 8.3 assists.

“He’s been doing a good job of scoring points, defending his position and facilitating when we ask him to facilitate,” Shaw said. “I don’t think it’s beyond his reach. It’s something he can do.”