In about a thousand ways, 2015-16 was a forgettable season for Ty Lawson. Lawson earned multiple suspensions for DUI incidents in the offseason, and never seemed quite right even when he was on the floor.
Lawson appeared in 66 games, starting 13 of them, but rarely made any kind of discernible impact. He had just one double-digit assists game, and scored in double figures just 14 times overall, while shooting just 39.3 percent from the field overall. Coming from a one-time borderline All-Star who averaged 15.2 points and 9.6 assists per game in the previous season, Lawson’s dropoff was alarming.
|G: 66||PPG: 5.7||APG: 3.6|
He hit free agency and found no market waiting for him, and he will try to rebuild his value after the Kings took a low-price flier on Lawson this week. Given his off-court issues and major struggles last season, Lawson may not get another chance, so he really needs to take advantage of this opportunity.
And it could be a very good opportunity for him to rebuild that value for Fantasy players too. The Kings let Rajon Rondo walk in free agency this offseason, and had just Garrett Temple available to back up Darren Collison prior to taking a chance on Lawson. Temple is a fine fifth guard, but he isn’t someone you want starting and running the point for a team that ostensibly has playoff hopes, but he might have been pressed into starting duty at some point this season, with Collison facing his own legal issues from a pair of misdemeanor domestic violence charges.
Even if Collison doesn’t face discipline from the league, Lawson has a real chance to force his way into the starting lineup at some point. Collison is a fine point guard, but has never been as dynamic with the ball in his hands as Lawson was at his peak in Denver. Lawson was a a terrific playmaker, posting nearly a four-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio in 2014-15, and he was able to get to the rim with ease, finishing over taller players are drawing tons of free throws — 6.5 per game in 2013-14.
However, Lawson struggled to finish at the rim last season, shooting 57.1 percent within 3 feet, well down from his career mark of 61.4 percent. He has also seen his free-throw rate drop from a high of .504 in 2013-14 to just .243 last season, as he seemed a step (or two, to be honest) slow, and significantly less aggressive than he once was.
It’s hard to say how much being in a tough situation in Houston, where he had to take a backseat to James Harden and often played off the ball, contributed to his decline. That psychological factor cannot be dismissed, and the Rockets‘ locker room was nobody’s idea of a productive atmosphere judging by reports, so it’s possible Lawson never had a chance to succeed in Houston.
Of course, it’s also possible he really is just as bad as he looked last season. He didn’t really rebound in his late-season run with the Pacers, and was a total non-factor in their playoff run, averaging 2.3 points in 10.6 minutes per game. Most players don’t fall off like this at the age of 28, but Lawson didn’t exactly give many reasons to be optimistic last year, either.
Ultimately, there won’t be much of a reason for Fantasy players to pay attention to Lawson in drafts this fall, but you will definitely want to keep him on your radar. The Kings used both Collison and Rondo extensively last season, so it’s not like Lawson has no path to playing time with Collison around. If he can find that Denver form, long shot though it may be, he has a chance to emerge in a contributing role.
That may not be worth drafting, but Lawson could be a killer pickup down the road.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Fantasy Basketball Sleeper Alert: Kings give Ty Lawson a second chance