Ty Lawson is a leader for the Denver Nuggets.
As a water bug of a point guard he is a great fit for their up-tempo offense (the Nuggets were top five in the league in pace last season). He is quick, he can be fearsome in transition, he can knock down the three. He fits what the Nuggets do and he has the temperament to be a leader. It’s just a process.
This season coach Brian Shaw is asking even more of Lawson and more of a Nuggets team that should be healthy and a playoff threat in the West. He needs Lawson to lead that.
Sort of like Peyton Manning does down the street in Denver with the Broncos. As a learning experience, Shaw wants to take Lawson to watch Manning practice, something the coach said at media day, reported by Matt Moore at Eye on Basketball.
“One thing I wanted to do with him,” Shaw said, “and still may do before we get too heavy into is I want to take him to a Broncos practice so he can see Peyton Manning and how he directs traffic, and how everybody falls in line behind him. But they only do that because they know the work ethic that he has and the time he puts in, and they respect that.”
Lawson is good with that and a step ahead of the coach.
“I’ve met Peyton before,” Lawson said, “but I definitely just want to see how he runs his team. To see whether he’s yelling and screaming the whole time, or if he’s just talking. What his tone is when he’s talking to players. I want to see what his mindset is during practice.”
Manning yells now and again, but his leadership is rooted more in the combination of detailed preparation and then an ability to read a defense and put the team in a position to succeed. Players trust him to make the right call, the right read, and to choose the right option. Manning has proven he can do that.
Leading veterans is easier and the Nuggets get Danilo Gallinari back from injury and acquired Arron Afflalo in a trade — you can plug those two in and instantly get guys who will buy into the team concept. They will follow a leader they can trust. Lawson will not have to yell as much, he just needs to prove he can be that guy that makes the right read.