Monday, September 5, 2011

The NBA's Top Five Up-and-Coming Duos #4: Danilo Gallinari and Ty Lawson

After trading Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to New York last season, the Denver Nuggets roared into the playoffs as the best offensive team in the league, a squad replete with a mix of explosive scorers and consistent high-efficiency finishers.  Melo and Mr. Big Shot were anchoring a top-notch offense before the trade, but Denver pushed it into high gear post-trade and finished with 50 wins and a decent playoff showing against a more established Oklahoma City team (weird saying OKC is more established- boy are they old now or what?).

While Denver used incredible depth and commendable teamwork to achieve the post-jettison results, Danilo Gallinari and Ty Lawson were major impetuses for it.  Melo was traded for reasons mainly dealing with his impending free agency and possible departure, but Denver had a host of packages to choose from and chose one centered around Gallinari.  They were also cozy with trading Billups away because they had seen some of what Lawson could do and liked him as a point guard.       

Danilo Gallinari, #8, and Ty Lawson, #3, are a potent offensive duo.
Gallinari has become one of the most efficient players in the league.  He's a dead-eye 3-point shooter with unlimited range who uses screens effectively.  Now, he's using his shot fake ability to help him get by hapless defenders and draw fouls inside.  A lot of fouls inside.  In NY, he had a foul draw rate of 18.8 percent; in his 14 games with Denver, it went to 24.3 percent.  For perspective, Dwight Howard had a foul draw rate of 27.1 percent, and most high-volume wings hover in the teens.  Rooster's passing creativity should be unleashed on his new team as well, and if he maintains his healthy vitriol of losing, he could become a borderline all-star type- kind of like how DeMar DeRozan was described last post.     

Lawson saw a boost in his numbers following the trade, too.  After the all-star game, he started 25 games, averaging 14.4 points and 6.9 assists on 50.6 percent shooting and 42.4 percent from 3 in 31.5 minutes.  Lawson can dart into the lane with television camera-evading speed to wreak havoc on opposing defenses.  He can shoot the ball, and he's a solid defender.  If he works on his mid-range game and develops a floater, he could become one of those point guards who will continually get screwed out of future all-star games because the point guard position is so ridiculously deep in promising talent right now.  That's a compliment.

Gallinari and Lawson have burgeoning skill sets ready-made to compliment each other and anchor a perennially elite offense for Denver.

No comments:

Post a Comment