With the recent trade of Ty Lawson from the Denver Nuggets to the Houston Rockets, I will take a look at what it means for Denver, Houston, and the Western Conference.
Ty Lawson needed a fresh start outside of Denver. Lawson needs some guidance. Houston can provide these things for Lawson. Years of under performing teams has really taken its toll on Lawson. This past season seemed to be the final straw for Lawson mentally. Bad news was not a normal occurrence with Lawson, but this past year he has already had two DUI’s, which is just completely unacceptable. Denver was an incredibly deep team going into the year, but injuries, chemistry issues, and coaching problems all lead for the Nugget’s to fall apart, and now have the need to restart their franchise. The start of this was with hiring Mike Malone to coach this roster. Next was trying to trade the veteran’s for as much value as possible. Lawson made this decision of trading him much easier after the second DUI. Reports were coming in that his value was very low, and he might be available for only a second round pick. This was false, as the trade for Lawson ended up costing multiple players, and multiple draft picks. Now with the trade complete an entire conference will feel the impact, and that is where the discussion will begin.
For Houston, Lawson is an electric offensive player, not so much on defense, but that is what they have Patrick Beverley for. Lawson brings a whole new dimension to the Rocket’s team, who were desperate for another scoring option behind Harden. Harden played at a MVP level, and although he did not win the NBA’s MVP, he did win the award at the player’s award show. Now Harden did this without Dwight Howard for a big chunk of the season, and no real other offensive threat on the team. Imagine what he can do now with Lawson taking some defensive pressure off of him, and allowing him to get more open looks, or a man, who can create cutting opportunities, and actually get him the ball in a good position, allowing Harden to attack the basket, and get his free throws. Everyone thought their offense was scary last season, well just wait for this coming season. With Lawson starting, and Beverley off the bench, Houston has two capable starting point guards. Another idea I would not be surprised to see Houston use is, Lawson off the bench, as teams like Oklahoma and Golden State with electric point guards, Beverley’s defensive presence would help slow Westbrook and Curry down, while Lawson can give much needed scoring off the bench. Houston was going to be a top team in the Western Conference next season, but could they really win the conference before Lawson? No, a healthy Thunder team, bolstered Clipper’s team, Golden State, new look Spurs, those teams would have just been too much for the Rocket’s to handle. After the addition of Ty Lawson, I think Houston can be a top three team in the West, but still do not believe they will come out victorious in the Conference. I think that honor either goes to San Antonio or Oklahoma City.
Denver is going through a phase of a uncertainty. I say this because they just traded away Ty Lawson, but signed Gallinari and Chandler to big contract extensions. Chandler is an excellent role player, who for the past two seasons, was on the trade block, and garnered huge interest, but Denver’s asking price was always too high. Gallinari is an electric player when healthy, that is the key. With his inability to stay healthy, Denver should have traded him for anything, allowing for the rebuild to start sooner, but they elected to pay him $17 million a season. The Nugget’s wonder why they cannot get out of mediocre, well these moves of acting like the crazy ex, who holds on to everything and does not move on are why. The trade load they got for Lawson was not as lucrative as they were hoping for, but a lot better than was reported the past week. Kostas Papanikolaou, Nick Johnson, and Joey Dorsey are all decent role players, who could develop niche’s in Denver’s system. The draft picks hold little value, as they will be very late first and second round picks. About the only bright spot for the Nugget’s out of this whole trade was Emmanuel Mudiay. Mudiay now has complete control of the offense, and is a primed candidate to win Rookie of the Year honors. Mudiay is the center of the rebuild in Denver, and everything was going good until the resigning’s of a couple role players. As stated before, Chandler and Gallinari should have been traded, as well as even Kenneth Faried. The Nugget’s should be competing for a top two selection in next year’s draft, as this team just looks horrible on paper, and in the Western Conference, they do not have the skill set to compete with the other teams in the Conference.
For the Western Conference, this trade was fantastic. You allowed a good team to become even better, while allowing another one to tank, and acquire a potential star in the draft. The amazing thing is, no one will even complain about the Nugget’s tanking, as they traded away a player, who needed help, and wanted their first round pick to begin an early development. Everyone talks about how challenging the Western Conference is, but with Lawson in Houston, things just went to another level. When looking at a playoff field of Golden State, Houston, San Antonio, Memphis, Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City, Utah, New Orleans, and if chemistry works out possibly the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings competing for the last spot, but very highly unlikely. Their playoff field is brutal, with Utah being the weakest, but their defense is tough, and who know’s how much offensive development has occurred from their young roster. Every team has a weakness for one team or another, and that is why seeding will be a crucial key in who wins this Conference.
The league has to be happy about this trade, as Lawson needed a new environment, Denver really needed to move on from Ty Lawson, and they will get even better ratings with a more competitive Western Conference playoff. They also improve their image, as Lawson was checked into rehab, and their teams were able to find a new, more positive environment for him to try and change to become a better person. All in all the NBA, as a whole improves from this, and this is getting everyone excited for another competitive, exciting season to watch.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17