When experts around the NBA talk about championship contenders this season, one team that is consistently left out of the mix is the Denver Nuggets. It’s understandable. There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical. The Nuggets don’t have the one marquee player that the team is centered around. They are not a very good road team. And they give up a ton of points on a nightly basis. It’s tough to buy into a team like that. On the other side of things, they have one of the best coaches in the NBA with George Karl, they can hang offensively with any team in the NBA, they are one of the deepest teams in the league and they are nearly unbeatable on their own home floor. It’s time to realize that they are a serious threat out West. Ty Lawson joined KKFN with Drew and Scott to talk about his growth on the court, whether he is more vocal now, if he thinks the Nuggets can win the championship this year despite not having one marquee player, why he thinks the Nuggets don’t get much attention and what kind of impact Andre Iguodala has had on the team.
On his growth:
“Probably just my confidence. When you come into the league and the people you look up to are starting in front of you, you really feel like inferior and don’t want to step on too many toes so I just wanted to learn from Chauncey (Billups). Then ‘Melo is one of my favorite players so whatever he said goes. I tried just giving him the ball as much as possible. Now I feel like I’m coming into my own and that I can take on the challenges and be a person to try to take over games. That was the two different things going from then until now.”
Would you say you are more vocal?
“Yeah, definitely. When i was a rookie you have Kenyon Martin, J.R (Smith), Carmelo (Anthony) and Chauncey, you really didn’t wan’t to say too much. I feel like if I would’ve said anything they would’ve been looking at me like ‘oh that’s just Ty.’ Now I feel like I’m in a position where I can talk and be more vocal.”
Do you believe the Nuggest can win a championship this year?
“Yeah. I was talking to (Andre) Iguodala a couple of days ago and I was like ‘man we can really win a championship if everybody is mature and gets serious about the game plan.’ Because sometimes you just do stuff that is out of the ordinary or just, we don’t pay attention or if we get up 15 points we just shoot regular shots or see if ‘I can make it shots’ and teams come back. If we just stay focused, I feel like we can beat and run with any team in the NBA. We would have a shot to win a championship but we just have to do that for a seven game series. That’s what I feel and I think a lot of people on our team feel the same way. We just have to get everything together down the stretch.”
On not getting the attention they feel they deserve:
“I feel like we are the dark horse always and I don’t think we get a lot of shine in the NBA or from the announcers on ESPN or anything like that anyway. We went on a ten game winning streak and didn’t hear too much about it. That’s how it’s been. We have to accept it and prove everybody wrong like we have been.”
Do you think the Lakers will make the playoffs?
On the impact of Andre Iguodala:
“On the court he does all the little things. He might not score a lot and all that but he does the little things. Flare screens, getting steals, defensive stops, he does it all. When everybody says he does it all, they mean that. He has taught me a lot. Not taking plays off and he’s been where I want to be. He’s been an All-Star so he has been teaching me things to get to that level and I appreciate him for that.”