Let’s begin by reviewing some of the most important facts:
*Both of their names begin (and one begins, and ends) with “Ty”;
*Both of their last names end with “son”;
*Both are employed as backup point guards in their respective NBA cities;
I’ll stop forcing the comparison for the moment (until I conveniently tie it together at the end), because I want to address each situation separately. First…
Ty Lawson: After a lost 2015-16 (5.7 ppg, 3.6 apg for Houston and Indiana), he got a chance to start a bunch of games early this season for Sacramento, but mostly stunk. With Darren Collison suspended the first eight games of the year, Lawson ended up starting 13 of the first 14, posting 6.3 ppg, 5.2 apg, 1.1 spg and 0.8 3s on 35.2 percent from the field.
Interestingly (or perhaps not that interestingly), it wasn’t until he settled into a bench role that he finally started to bust out. During a recent four-game winning streak, Lawson posted 15.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.5 spg (and 0.5 3s), shooting 57.9 percent from the field. Of course, when he started the second half on Wednesday, he ended up struggling (eight points, one assist in 29 minutes). Nevertheless, the immediate future looks intriguing, if not outright promising, for a player who not that long ago was one of the most dynamic fantasy PGs in the game. And though he may not ever return to the big numbers from his Denver heyday (he averaged 16.4 ppg, 8.0 apg, 1.4 spg and 1.1 3s from 2011-15), the 29-year-old is suddenly (and finally) relevant in fantasy leagues again.
The other backup point guard in today’s discussion is more than just relevant — Tyler Johnson is quietly wrecking box scores. His last 11 games, Johnson’s stats look like this: 15.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.9 bpg and 2.0 3s (44.1 percent from the field, 73.1 from the line). During that stretch, he’s the No. 49-ranked player in 9-category leagues, and those of us who dropped him during a rough three-game stretch back in November (5.3 ppg on 20.8 percent shooting) are probably getting too mad to continue reading (or writing, in my case), so I’ll stop here for a quick synopsis:
*Backup PGs whose names begin with “Ty”: currently pretty compelling^;
*Ty Lawson: On a hot streak that may or may not be a blip, but it’s worth adding him to find out;
*Tyler Johnson: much more than just a blip.
*Asterisks: overused so far in this column.
*Blip: an underused word in most cases.
Other Random Thoughts: Tyson Chandler has just one block in his last eight games, and is averaging a career-low 0.4 bpg on the season. … Jabari Parker hit nine 3s in 76 games last season. He has nine in his last four games. … Gary Harris exploded in his first three games back on the court this month (19.3 ppg, 4.0 apg, 1.7 spg, 2.3 3s), then struggled somewhat in his next four (10.5 ppg, 1.8 apg, 0.5 spg, 1.0 3s). The net result over his last seven seems like a pretty realistic snapshot of what he’ll do: 14.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.0 spg and 1.6 3s (and he certainly has the potential to average more than 1.0 steals). … Andrew Wiggins has been frustrating with his lack of peripheral stats, but it is worth noting that he has posted 1.5 spg (with 0.5 bpg and 1.1 3s) in his last eight games. It’s a trend worth watching, although after eight games it’s too soon to tell if it’s anything more than a blip.