Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson said the team will be underrated following last year's injury-plagued season, he told NBA.com's Jeff Caplan.
The Nuggets finished last season 36-46 last season and missed the playoffs. Lawson's 17.6 points and 8.8 assists per game were career highs.
GOLLIVER: Reputations at stake for Team USA
Injuries limited first-year coach Brian Shaw's options throughout the season. Forward Danilo Gallinari missed the entire season after tearing his ACL in April 2013, and center JaVale McGee played in just five games following a stress fracture in his left leg. Backup point guard Nate Robinson tore his ACL in January and missed the rest of the year.
“People,” Lawson said, “are probably going to sleep on us this year because of what happened last year.”
With the team returning to full-health, Lawson said depth will be one of Denver's biggest assets this season.
"I think at every position we’re pretty deep. At center, we’ve got JaVale and Timofey Mozgov, who started playing well throughout the last year. We’re so deep, I think that’s a gift and a curse. Everybody is going to want to play. I already told B-Shaw, I was like, ‘yeah, it’s going to be a problem that you’re going to have, divvying up minutes and making sure everybody’s still happy.’ That’s a gift because say somebody goes down, God forbid, we’ll still have somebody step right in. Also, there’s so many different lineups we can have. We can go small, go big, we’re so versatile."
MAHONEY: Team USA's top competition at World Cup
- Paul Palladino