NBA Suspends Ty Lawson 3 Games for D.U.I. Arrest
No, that’s not a typo or mistake, you read that right. Today (Thursday January 7) the NBA suspended Ty Lawson for one of his D.U.I (Driving Under the Influence) charges sustained last year.
As news on this story broke my phone blew up with text messages inquiring if Lawson had once again been caught driving under the influence. That in itself kind of speaks for how much faith people have Lawson can and will stay sober or at least hire a driver for his nights on the town.
Earlier this season Lawson was suspended two games for his DUI charges stemming from his arrest in Denver, January, 2015. This suspension addresses his second DUI charges that occurred in California the summer of 2015, just prior to his trade to the Houston Rockets in July.
Joseph Serna of the Los Angeles Times detailed Lawson’s four (yes you read that right) DUI charges he’s sustained beginning with his first as an underage drinking and driving charge from his college days in North Carolina. Outside the two charges this past year (in Denver and L.A.) he had a third charge which occurred in Missouri (no date or details provided).
Ty Lawson has been suspended 3 games for his DUI violation.
— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) January 7, 2016
Now the questions that will stem from today’s suspension can begin:
- Is a 3-game suspension harsh enough given this is Lawson’s fourth time receiving charges for his drinking issues?
- Shouldn’t the NBA, the Houston Rockets or Lawson’s camp have made it a requirement he undertake off court activities to help deter young people from drinking? (either via college public speaking or at NBA rookie events)
- Will this suspension have any negative or positive effect on Lawson and the Rockets moving forward?
- Lawson had just started to show signs of fitting in with the Rockets, will this suspension set back that progress?
In terms of what steps Lawson has taken to address his alcohol issues, he did attend an alcohol treatment facility this past summer. The problem is a judge had ruled he wouldn’t proceed with his DUI charges until he did so. The fact Lawson needed a judge to force his attendance in a program does beg the question: How serious is Lawson in getting sober?
Aside from the 2 games Lawson missed earlier this season for the original DUI of last season he also missed 2 additional games of the 36 the Rockets had played. In the 32 games he’s played for Houston the diminutive point guard has averaged 6.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.0 steal per game.
While these numbers are far less than what the team expected him to bring to the court they are in fact improving over the past few weeks. The area of Lawson’s game most negatively affected is his shooting which is the worst of his career from both the 3-point line (31.3% vs career ave of 36.6%) as well as the field (37.1% vs career ave of 47.2%).
For the Rockets and Lawson, the hope will be he is able to return to the line-up and continue the progress he was making just prior to sustaining a tweaked ankle and this subsequent suspension. For now Lawson will miss the next 3 games versus the Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies.
— SF – Rockets (@SF_Rockets) January 8, 2016
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In an interview with Rockets side line reporter Calvin Watkins and ESPN it was interesting Watkins noted the reason the Rockets were initially unhappy with Lawson was he wasn’t penetrating the paint or driving the ball enough into the paint. He further added the energy he has brought to the second unit has been considered a benefit and the team hopes he’ll continue that progress.
The side bar question on everyone’s minds after hearing the above statement is …. exactly when was Lawson suppose to drive the paint when the ball remained in Harden’s hands and on the rare occasions he was passed the ball did Bickerstaff expect Lawson to drive the paint with 3 to 5 seconds remaining on the shot clock?
This in my opinion has been the greatest problem in terms of integrating Lawson into the Rockets roster. Ty needs the ball in his hands to create and his improving stats playing with the reserve unit speak to that fact. I wonder if Harden gave him the same leeway if we’d see even greater progress. Food for thought!
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