Q&A: Ty Lawson

Posted by Unknown on Sunday, October 05, 2014 with No comments
Courtesy of Christopher Dempsey 

Q: You wanted to commit yourself to offseason work this summer in a way you hadn't before. Did you?
A: It didn't go as expected, because I was dealing with an ankle injury. I really couldn't do too much from April until July or the beginning of August. So I couldn't go as hard as I wanted to. But I've been working on ball handling and stuff like that. I think I got that tighter, and able to get into little spaces with my left hand, finish with my left hand, things like that.
Q: How big a year is this for you to establish the type of player you are?
A: For my career, this is the next step. I've got to make the next step. This year has to be that next step. I'm entering the prime of my NBA career, so this is where it either goes up or goes down.
Q: What do you need to do to get to that next level?
A: I feel like we have to win — because I feel like my numbers are elite numbers, what I did last year. The only thing separating me from everyone else is just winning. Chris Paul has gotten out of the second round. Russell Westbrook went to the NBA Finals. I feel like to get to that level, you've got to win games. Kyrie (Irving) this year, he's going to get out of the first and second round. So that's the goal.
Q: You mentioned Paul, Westbrook and Irving. Do you see yourself in that group as an elite point guard?
A: I do, minus just the winning. Especially for a point guard, that takes you to the next level. If you're a point guard and you're not winning but you're killing it, it doesn't matter. It's a leadership role.
Q: When you look back at last season, how tough was it to go through?
A: It was huge. It was the first time I didn't go to the playoffs in my whole career, from high school to ... even elementary. I'm always used to winning or being in the playoff run, playing for something. It was tough.
Q: Is there a lesson to be learned from what happened last season?
A: Yeah, I think so. Just being professional. Going toward the end of the season, not saying that I didn't feel like playing but saying we're not playing for nothing, that's not really professional. So, just learning that, learning professionalism, that took a big hit last year.
Q: Every year about this time, the leadership question comes up. Are you tired of that?
A: No, not really, because that's an area I should work on, and that I think I have worked on. Being a leader, being out here being more vocal and also just showing by example is what it's going to take.
Q: Nate Robinson says he stays on you about shooting more. Do you want to shoot more?
A: It's not my nature now. In high school, I was a shooter. After I went to North Carolina and had all of those players around me, I felt like I had to get people involved. I don't know how many shots I averaged last year; it was like 12 or 13. And I averaged 17 points off 13, so if I shoot more, I'll probably score more. But I just don't want to be that player that's like, "Oh, he's gunning, he's taking all of the shots." I hate to be that player. But probably this year, I'll shoot a little bit more, probably around 15, 16 a game and see where that takes me.
Q: What did you think of Kenneth Faried's run with USA Basketball in the summer?
A: It means the world. He's playing hard, and I think that will do wonders for him this year coming up for his confidence and for his brand. It was huge.
Q: When you look at these Nuggets, do you see a playoff team?
A: Yeah, I see a playoff team. I see a top-four team in the West. If everybody stays healthy and we're all playing together, there's no reason why we shouldn't be in a playoff run.
Q: You see the Nuggets as a top-four team in the West?
A: I think so. Nobody thought we were going to be a top-four team the year we won 57 games (two years ago). So I think the sky's the limit for us as long as we're playing well and everybody is focused.
Q: What excites you the most about the upcoming season?
A: The chance to erase last year. And also to see what (coach) Brian Shaw will do with everybody healthy, because he has great plays, a great mind-set, and I feel like he just needs an opportunity to have everybody healthy so he can prove he's one of the top coaches in the game.
Q: You had a daughter last season. How has that changed you?
A: It changed me in that I stop going out as much. I'm more laid-back, just at the house chillin'. Also, it made me realize that I'm not just doing this for myself anymore. I have a daughter now. Make sure I keep everything as far as my appearances and my name, just keep that under wraps. Because I don't want her to hear "Ty's this" or "Ty's that." I'm doing this for her, money-wise and legacy-wise.