Why I’m Excited About Ty Lawson Joining The Rockets

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past 4 months (not that there is anything wrong with that), you are probably aware that Ty Lawson is now a member of the Houston Rockets. There are already dozens of other articles and blog posts talking about how he’ll give Houston a 2nd playmaker on the perimeter and make the offense better.  There’s really no reason to repeat those same points here.

So rather than tell you what he can bring to the offense, I’d rather show you.

 

The play above was the very first play of the Rockets preseason. Houston wins the tip and Lawson ends up with the ball. He casually flips the ball to Harden, who slowly walks up the court and then waits for Terrance Jones to set the pick. It was something we had seen probably hundreds of times over the course of last year. And Memphis was already in position to try and defend Harden’s drive to the basket. Jones’ defender was going to try to double Harden as he came around the pick.

But then before Harden even has a chance to use the pick. He quickly swings the ball over to Ty Lawson on the other side of the court, where Dwight already is in position to set a pick and give Lawson a free path to the basket. Dwight’s defender tries to double on the other side of the screen as well, but doesn’t get there fast enough and Lawson splits the double. And before you know it, Lawson has gotten into the paint and draws all 5 Memphis Grizzly defenders. Leaving Ariza open in the corner and Harden open on the wing.

The rest of the play unfolded predictably from there. Lawson passed it to Ariza. The Grizzly defender actually does a good job running out to contest the corner 3, but Ariza smartly pump fakes to get him in the air and drives to the basket. Then after drawing the attention of a few Grizzly defenders, Ariza passes out to Harden wide open at the 3 point line and he drains the shot effortlessly. No defender within 10 feet of him. No one even running out to try and contest the shot.

What I love about the play the most is how it was almost a message to the fans about what was going to be different this season. Last year Houston relied a lot on Harden and the ball had a tendency to stick in his hands (fortunately they are very capable hands). The beggining of the play where Harden seemed to almost lazily start the offense seemed like an intentional nod to those offensive deficiencies last season. Then with the flick of his arm Lawson had it and we were able to move the ball around.

It was fitting that Harden ended up with the ball at the end of the play, for once the benificiary of someone else’s assist. But there were plenty of opportunities where we could’ve scored if it weren’t for the fact that Memphis’ help defense was great. Lawson could’ve had an easy look in the paint. Or Ariza could’ve had an open corner 3, but in both cases the defense actually recovered well. But the Rockets were able to keep moving the ball and it eventually it turned into an open look.

Welcome to the team Ty Lawson. And with any luck, we’ll be seeing a lot more of this when the games start counting.

 

 

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