Save Ty Lawson From Himself

For the second time in six months, Ty Lawson was arrested for Driving Under the Influence. This time it was on the 101 freeway in Los Angeles where he was stopped for speeding and then failed a field sobriety test. In January, Lawson was arrested in Denver for driving under the influence in a similar circumstance, speeding while driving drunk. At that arrest, Lawson admitted to a prior drinking conviction in Missouri. In 2012, he was cited for careless driving, driving with a restriced license.

In 2013, Lawson was arrested when officers responded to a domestic violence call. He was taken into custody on suspicion of committing domestic violence-related harassment.

Five days before this latest arrest, Chauncey Billups, who is a native son of Denver, spoke about Lawson’s flaws in a very candid interview. Never one to mince words, Billups was very definitive. Ty Lawson should be traded.

“Ty has not demonstrated the kind of leadership that you want. And you have a young kid named (Emmanuel) Mudiay coming in who I think has a chance to be a star in the league. Right now the best player on the team is Ty Lawson. As a young player in the league you come in 19-20 years old, you often times try to emulate the best player because that’s one day what you want to be.” (104.3 The Fan, Denver)

Billups made his comments on Thursday. On Tuesday, Lawson would once again fall apart and get arrested, making Billups comments prophetic and oh so very accurate. Leaders are judged by what they do when no one is paying attention and what Lawson is doing when no one is paying attention is drinking and driving. So in effect, what Billups said about Lawson’s leadership rings particularly true. The traits of a leader are the ability to inspire and remain committed and emotional stability.

Lawson entered the NBA in 2009, straight off of a championship at North Carolina. He won the Bob Cousy Award for the nation’s best point guard. He was the ACC Player of the year. He was the 18th pick for the Denver Nuggets, just outside of the lottery because teams had questions about his less than six foot size. The last four seasons Lawson averaged 16 points and 8 assists. This past season he had a career high in assists, 10 per game with a 43% assist percentage, slight less than the assist percentage of Chris Paul (47%).

Which is why this sudden turn of events, Lawson’s inability to control his off court life with the appropriate amount of discipline and logic (if you are drinking then hire a driver), has the NBA murmuring about how effective he can ever be at leading a team. 9 assists is outstanding by any measure but leadership doesn’t end when you walk off the floor.

“At the moment right now, he’s not giving everybody a good snapshot of what he is, with the immature things he is doing, whether it’s social media, the things that he’s saying.” (Chauncey Billups)

There is enough evidence to suggest that while Billups is giving Ty Lawson the benefit of the doubt, the opposite is true. Ty Lawson is giving everyone a good idea of exactly who he is when you consider all of us are judged by our behavior, by how we treat each other, how we treat ourselves, how we maintain our professional responsibilities. Perhaps this is exactly who Ty Lawson really is, a persistent drunk driver.


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