Count James Harden as a member of the Ty Lawson fan club. This summer, the Rockets traded for the embattled Nuggets point guard, who recently spent time in rehab after picking up his second DUI charge in six months. For the Rockets, it was a gamble that a change of scenery will help Lawson sort out his personal issues, and Harden, his new backcourt mate, has a positive report after spending some time with Lawson recently.
From the Houston Chronicle‘s Jonathan Feigen:
Harden and new Rockets guard Ty Lawson “spent some time together,” enough for Harden to be convinced that his new teammate will overcome his off-court issues and be a valuable addition to the Rockets’ backcourt.
“Ty is definitely going to help us,” Harden said during a break in the Kroger Unplug and Play James Harden Basketball ProCamp in The Woodlands on Saturday. “He gives us that quickness, that speed, playmaking ability, something that we were missing, especially deep in the playoffs. We’re going to welcome him with open arms. We’re happy to have him.”
Lawson completed a 30-day rehabilitation program ordered after his second DUI arrest this year. Harden said he has already spent enough time with Lawson to be “not at all” concerned that Lawson will have similar issues.
“He’s out in California right now working out,” Harden said. “We’re happy to have him. He’s going to be a great addition to our team. I’ve been with him these last couple weeks. He’s more focused than ever. He has a great opportunity with a really good team to showcase his talents and help us with that push that we need.”
Harden is right. If Lawson can work out his off-the-court issues, he’s a massive upgrade for the Rockets at point guard and will give the Rockets a lot of offensive options they didn’t have last season. New teammates almost always speak positively about each other after working out together in the summer, but it sounds like Lawson is focused on repairing his career. He knows that things couldn’t have gone much worse in Denver, and if it doesn’t work out with the Rockets, he might not get another chance.