Nuggets exercise Ty Lawson option

The Denver Nuggets have exercised the third-year option on point guard Ty Lawson for 2011-12, team Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri announced today.

Lawson established himself as one of the NBA’s top rookies in 2009-10, averaging 8.3 points and 3.1 assists in 65 games while serving as the primary backup to veteran Chauncey Billups. He was one of only five rookies to average at least 20 minutes for a playoff team.

Acquired from Minnesota in a draft-night trade on June 25, 2009, Lawson also flourished in eight starts in place of the injured Billups. He averaged 17.0 points, 5.9 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.13 steals in those games.

Lawson, 25, is averaging 13.0 points and 5.3 assists in six preseason games.

The Nuggets open the 2010-11 regular season at home Wednesday against Utah.