Nuggets head coach George Karl spoke with the media today about his starting lineup, how he might tinker with things, and when he thinks Ty Lawson could come back. Lawson also spoke about his return to the team and what he's doing to protect his heel.
Before we get into the notes ... check out Nuggets owner Josh Kroenke and his silky smooth free throw shooting. Kroenke was shooting around with multi-talented public relations man Nick O'Hayre and scouting coordinator Dan Tolzman today. Video courtesy of yours truly.
With the Houston Rockets playing, and winning, in Portland (116-98) last night; the team did not shoot-around today (very common). The Nuggets held their usual shoot-around, but had it up on the practice court and not down on the main floor.
Lawson was doing a little shooting and a touch of jogging under Steve Hess' watchful eye (video again courtesy of yours truly):
Asked about how his foot is feeling:
"It's getting a little bit better," said Lawson. "The soreness is going down a lot. Trying to get my wind back and just get back to the feel of basketball."
Is he a patient person?
"Not at all," said Lawson. "It's annoying to me [not playing]. Being patient is not one of my strong suits."
Have you been out running?
"Today was the first day," said Lawson. "It felt alright, it started to get sore towards the end."
What's in your shoe to protect you?
"Heel pads and things for my arch," said Lawson.
Timetable for a return? Do you want to return for any regular season games?
"Not at all," said Lawson. "At least two or three games so I can get a feel for the game back."
Are you going to have to pain through pain?
"At some point I'm going to have to," said Lawson.
Thoughts on having to adjust without Danilo Gallinari:
"Somebody has got to pick up the slack," said Lawson. "Iguodala has to shoot a little bit more; try not to be too unselfish. He's got to be more selfish."
Lawson was also asked about how the court will be spaced without Gallo and he pointed to Wilson Chandler being able to be an outside threat, but he expects defenses to pack the paint a little more now.
How do you adjust without Gallo?
"My theme today was: Don't overreact," said Karl. "Philosophically how you fill in those minutes should be exciting to a lot of people. It should be uplifting to a lot of people because there is going to be more opportunity. It's going to come in different pieces. I don't know who is going to score the points. I don't know who is going to do the play-making."
Where will you go with the starting lineup without Gallo?
"I'm going to start Wilson tonight," said Karl. "Because he gives us the most trust and confidence right now. I'm hoping that's the way we stay, but I'm not saying that's the way we will stay."
"For me the game now is at the six minute mark at the six minute mark of the first quarter," said Karl. "I'm coaching the game. The game is already in a coach mode. If I don't like the way it's going it's probably going to be quick triggers and start trying to experiment."
"It's a challenge, it's fun, and there is a lot of it that's energizing," said Karl. "And I think players should feel the same way."
Is it good to have a few games left before the playoffs to tinker?
"It's good to have a few games," said Karl. "The one thing I wish I knew was who we were playing. Because of not knowing that until next Monday or Tuesday or maybe even Wednesday, we've just got to figure out what helps us. The other variable that is not there is Ty. The things I've thought about are wild and crazy, it's incredible."
Karl talked about the various lineups he has considered and how he's thought about starting the bench, starting Jordan Hamilton to get some outside shooting into the game early, and various other lineups. But he also cautioned that too much tinkering might be too wild.
Do you need Lawson back before the playoffs?
"I think he should play," said Karl. "He might not be 100-percent. He's got to learn how to play on it when it's 70-percent or 80-percent. Maybe we can't get 35 minutes a game out of him. Can we get 25 minutes a game out of him? You don't want to determine that with home-court in your first two games of the playoffs. I don't think you want to do that."
I totally understand where Karl is coming from in regards to having Lawson back. If the Nuggets have to work him back into the lineup in the post-season they might lose a game or two and lose home-court in the process. It's a dangerous game and horrific timing to an injury to a player that needs his feet to be effective.
I've had conversations with various people about how the Nuggets should bring Lawson back. There really is no good answer. What if he comes back too early again and can't play at all in the playoffs? There is going to be a risk/reward scenario with Lawson and that foot may hold up or it may not.
Lawson is a tough guy and when he decides to play we'll see what happens. If he's able to come back and be the killer he was before the injury, the Nuggets will be in serious business. If he comes back and can't go full on or if he gets hurt again - that's just the breaks of the game.
Rockets tonight ...
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