Ty Lawson Needs A Wake Up Call
July 23, 2015
Former Tar Heel star Ty Lawson has been in the news for the wrong reason in recent months. On the brink of becoming one of the top five point guards in the NBA, Lawson needs to make some changes on the heels of receiving two DWI’s in the past seven months.
The behavior and lack of good decision making led Lawson’s team, the Denver Nuggets, to trade him away for a draft pick and four non-consequential players. The Houston Rockets are going to attempt to resurrect the talented backcourt player. Lawson will have to leave a great deal of baggage behind for the move to be a success for the Rockets.
Lawson has started the process of rehab. He has entered an intensive, 30-day luxury rehab facility in Malibu, Calif. But there is more baggage than his alcohol usage.
Ty Lawson flounders
The past year has been filled with several other self inflicted embarrassments that forced the Nuggets to rid themselves of the 27-year-old. He failed to return from Las Vegas in time for the Nuggets’ first practice after the all-star break. He responded to a fan’s Instagram comment about possibly joining the Mavericks by stating, “I wish.” And, he reacted to Denver taking point guard Emmanuel Mudiay in the recent NBA draft by posting a video of him smoking a hookah and telling friends, “Told you. I’m going to Sacramento, bro.”
Lawson has never made an all-star team but has finished third in assists in each of the past two seasons. This year, he averaged a career-high 9.6 assists to go along with 15.2 points. Lawson will not be asked to produce as much since Houston has James Harden and Dwight Howard. The addition of Lawson removes some of the burden Harden had of having to facilitate so much for others. The Rockets came within three wins of the NBA Finals without a quality point guard. Lawson is a significant talent upgrade over what Houston had. How Lawson fits, however, takes a backseat to how he confronts the troubles that have landed him in rehab.
Lawson got the change of scenery he sought. He is back on a playoff team again. Lawson now has to stay clean and leave those other distractions behind.
MLB At Halfway Point
The All-Star game has come and gone with the American League winning yet another game. I am going to spend some time reviewing the first half of the season while asking questions about the second half.
A quick look at the standings told me that parity has hit major league baseball. The biggest divisional leads as I write this are just the Royals, 4.5 over the Twins, and the Dodgers, 4.5 over the Giants. The St. Louis Cardinals are 23-games over .500 (56-33) and they’re only 2.5 games better than the Pirates. There should be some exciting races for playoff spots. The only team you can say, as of this date, has zero shot of shooting for the second wild card in either league are the woeful Phillies (29-62) who are 20 games back.
It was not all that long ago when we mentioned the Houston Astros as being woeful. Not anymore. If the playoffs started today, Houston would be involved.
The surprising Astros are still clubbing the ball and own the most homers in the Majors (124) but they hit the break on a six-game losing streak and were passed by the Angels atop the American League West.
Mike Trout is one of the best
The former laughingstocks are now looking for pitching in the trade market. Will Houston be playing baseball in October? I doubt it but look for this young team to get better and better.
Back to that ‘if the playoffs started today’ thing. If that was really true, the Chicago Cubs would be in. Talk about surprises. New manager Joe Maddon may just be the final addition to the long, long rebuilding project that started a long, long time ago. The Cubs have the best tandem of corner infielders in the game in Anthony Rizzo at first base and Kris Bryant at third base to go along with Jake Arrieta who has emerged as one of the best starting pitchers in the game. I like this team’s chance to advance.
I will stick with surprises. It has been awhile since the New York Yankees have been a surprise team. Alex Rodriguez has gone from a player the franchise wanted to get rid of to being their best player. The Yankees are benefiting from a weak American League East as they are currently in first place behind A-Rod, a rejuvenated Mark Teixeira and an amazing bullpen.
Let me close with debating over who is the best player in baseball, Mike Trout or Bryce Harper. Everyone thought it was Trout when the season began. But what Harper is doing in 2015 is truly amazing.
Check out how similar the two players 2015 stats are:
Harper: 26 HRs, 61 RBIs, 70 SOs, 63 BBs, .339/.464/.704
Trout: 26 HRs, 55 RBIs, 65 SOs, 44 BBs .312/.405/.619
And I like that they are both on first place teams as Harper’s Washington Nationals lead the National League East and Trout’s Los Angeles Angels lead the American League West.
My predictions for season awards. Harper will win the NL MVP as the Nationals pull away in the NL East. He will edge Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks who quietly is flirting for the Triple Crown. Bryant will be the NL Rookie of the Year. Prince Fielder may pull off an impressive double by winning the AL batting title and the Comeback Player of the Year. Trout will win the AL MVP. My early picks for World Series action is Kansas City vs. Los Angeles.