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Who we should be comparing Ty Lawson to...


       Tywon Lawson (PG, 5'11", 195 lbs.) was drafted 18th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves before being promtly traded to the Nuggets for a future first-rounder obtained in a trade with Charlotte. Since some people may be interested in who he ends up being like in the NBA, I decided to delve into the stats and (hopefully) something that is half-interesting...

       I'll start off by noting that college stats are not always a good indication of how a player is going to perform at the NBA level (^cough^ Sean May ^cough^), but since Lawson hasn't played a regular-season NBA game yet, they are the only semi-useful tool that I have (Hat tip to statsheet.com and basketball-reference.com).

      The first player I will use is All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson. They are about the same size, and both are very quick, stocky players. In college, Nelson played for St. Joseph while Lawson played for UNC. Jameer Nelson's stats during his final season in college read like this:

Season GP MPG PPG FG% 3FG% FT% APG RPG BPG SPG
2003-2004 32 33.9 20.6 47.5 39.0 79.2 5.3 4.7 0.0 3.0

On the other hand, Ty Lawson's were like this:

Season GP MPG PPG FG% 3FG% FT% APG RPG BPG SPG
2008-2009 35 29.943 16.6 53.2 47.2 79.8 6.571 2.971 0.143 2.143

It is worth noting that Nelson played 4 more minutes, posted up worse shooting percentages, and was the main option of his team (he didn't have a deadly 21 ppg, 8 rpg power-forward in Tyler Hansbrough). Their team records were both very good; the 2003-2004 St. Joseph Hawks went 30-2 while the UNC Tar-Heels went 34-4.

     Nelson wasn't spectacular during his first season, but improved in pretty much every catagory in his Sophomore season. However, as a Nuggets' fan, I really wouldn't mind Lawson posting up something along the lines of 8 ppg and 3 apg on 46% shooting in his rookie season, as he'll be backing up Billups and (hopefully NOT) Anthony Carter.

      The second player I'll use is Raymond Felton, a former standout UNC point guard currently playing for the Charlotte Bobcats. Felton is about two inches taller than Lawson and looks a bit skinnier. His college stats read like this:

Season GP MPG PPG FG% 3FG% FT% APG RPG BPG SPG
2004-2005 36 31.7 12.9 45.5 44.0 70.1 6.9 4.3 0.3 2.0

Felton didn't score as much, not was he as good from the field or the line, but he was a bit better of a passer and rebounder. He is a better scorer than those stats might indicate, but not as good as Lawson. Felton has done a decent job of being a good point guard on a crappy team. His shooting percentages are lower than they really should be because he is forced to carry too much of a scoring load. If he were on a better team, he would average around 12 ppg and 6-7 apg, but with better FG and 3-point FG percentages. I'm sure that Lawson will post a better FG % in the NBA than Felton, who barely cracked 40% in 2008-2009.

       Looking through this, I'm not sure how this will predict how good Lawson will be, but both those players are starting point-guards. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that Lawson becomes a Jameer Nelson-type likeable All-Star, and both have ONE thing in common: they were both drafted in the mid first-round, then traded immediately (Lawson to the Nuggets, and Nelson to the Magic).

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