Lawson focused as he prepares to start camp with Rockets
HOUSTON (AP) Ty Lawson knows he is facing a pivotal time in his career, and the point guard is looking forward to training camp with the Houston Rockets.
Lawson was acquired in a July trade with Denver while he was in a 30-day residential treatment program following his second DUI arrest. He is embracing his fresh start in Houston and is excited to join a contender after two straight losing seasons with the Nuggets.
''I'm in a different mindset this year because I know we're going to be playing for something,'' Lawson said.
General manager Daryl Morey has been encouraged by the growth he has seen from Lawson since the trade.
''Obviously we're here to support Ty ... he's done those things that will help,'' Morey said. ''And we're going to continue to help him as an organization as well.''
Lawson said he doesn't want to let his new teammates down. He has appreciated the way everyone in the organization has embraced him and talked about the support the Rockets have provided.
''Anything I need. From moral support if I need to talk or just anything,'' he said. ''Anything that I need they've done for me.''
Lawson was a first-round pick by the Timberwolves in 2009 before being traded to the Nuggets that day. He averaged 14.2 points and 6.6 assists in his six-year career with Denver. The 27-year-old started a career-high 75 games last season and averaged 15.2 points and a career-best 9.6 assists.
He has put together a solid career so far, but is looking to add to his resume by helping improve a team that reached the Western Conference finals last season.
''I think it's huge for my career and just for the team,'' he said. ''This is like the turning point. What type of career you going to have Ty? Is it going to be you going to win championships? Or are you going to be a mediocre player that's not really winning anything? This is my chance to actually prove something and improve my career also by winning a championship with everybody here.''
The Rockets hope Lawson can take some pressure off star James Harden with his playmaking ability. Harden said he hasn't spoken to Lawson about his problems yet, instead trying to get to know him over this last month. He said he plans to eventually have that conversation, but so far he has been impressed with his focus and professionalism.
Harden is eager to see what Lawson can bring to a team that returns almost all its pieces from last season.
''They haven't had an opportunity when he was in Denver just to win these last couple of years,'' Harden said. ''He's kind of been under the radar, and now you put a really good player with a good team and he'll show you what he really can do, and I think that's one of the reasons why we're really excited to have him here.''
Lawson said he didn't have to convince the Rockets that he was intent on turning his life around when they traded for him. He has helped calm any reservations they had about him by doing everything they've asked since he joined the team.
''They know where I'm at now and how I play and where I want to be,'' Lawson said. ''And they see my focus.''
While the Rockets have made sure he knows he can reach out to them if he needs help, he also has outside support in his quest to stay on the right track. He relies heavily on his middle school basketball coach for help and advice.
''He's the one who keeps it real,'' Lawson said. ''He doesn't tell me the things I want to hear. It's not too many people in this stage of my life or in the NBA that really tell you that. So that's the person if I need any help I talk to him.''
The Rockets start camp on Tuesday and open the preseason Oct. 6 at Memphis.