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News » Nuggets find a style that fits Lawson's junior season proved his efficiency, leadership

Nuggets find a style that fits Lawson's junior season proved his efficiency, leadership

Nuggets find a style that fits Lawson's junior season proved his efficiency, leadership
Ty Lawson landed in the Nuggets' hands about an hour and half into Thursday night's NBA draft, but the process of getting the speedy point guard in pro powder blue was more than a year in the making.

"Ty was one of the guys that we targeted early in the year to really watch closely," Nuggets director of pro scouting Mike Bratz said. "We felt like his style would fit in perfectly with us. When we went over a few names with Coach (George) Karl and talked about what they could do, he got excited about Ty."

Lawson, who was in Denver on Friday to meet with the media, worked out with the Nuggets in May 2008 after he declared for the draft following his sophomore season at North Carolina. The Nuggets were impressed, but they, along with most NBA front-office personnel, had questions about Lawson's game. His height and length couldn't be altered, but a shaky jump shot, spotty defense and wishy-washy leadership could.

Lawson went back to school and came out of the other side sparkling.

"We have a formula here where we track point guard efficiency," Bratz said. "He had one of the highest ratings in history, not just this year. And he had by far the highest rating for a guard this season. So, (he's a) very, very, very efficient player. The skills he has blend in very well to the team framework."

Said Lawson: "Oh, yeah, I think I'll make a real good impact. Chauncey (Billups), when he gets tired, (I can)come in, spare him some minutes, keep the tempo going. I like to play fast, don't turn the ball over, and I like to score and get everybody involved. I feel that this is the right spot for me, and I'm real excited to be there."

Mark Warkentien, the Nuggets' vice president of Basketball operations, praised a full team effort that culminated in the pick. Assistant coach Adrian Dantley knew Lawson when the guard was 10. Karl spoke extensively with Tar Heels coach Roy Williams, also a friend of his.

"Roy Williams gave me a great recommendation on him," Karl said. "He compared him to (Bulls point guard Kirk) Hinrich and (Charlotte guard Raymond) Felton and felt that Ty could be as good, or better, than both of them."

Williams coached Hinrich at Kansas and coached Felton to a national title at North Carolina. Lawson won Williams a second national title with the Tar Heels last season. Hinrich and Felton have had effective, if not spectacular, NBA careers.

"George has the blue tattoo," Warkentien said. "He's a Carolina guy. He can go places that none of the rest of us can. And I think with his conversation with Coach Williams and the Carolina staff, when we realized that we had such consensus; you rarely have consensus on players period, but particularly point guards. There was such consensus, I think it became obvious this works."

According to Karl, the Nuggets targeted Lawson and UCLA point guard Darren Collison going into the draft.

"I think we came into this draft thinking: Because of all the point guards, is there a possibility that we could find one that we liked? And we had a couple on the board that we liked," Karl said. "Ty was one.

"I think you can be arguing the top three guys that went - (Ricky) Rubio, (Jonny) Flynn, Lawson - bet you there are a lot of guys betting that Lawson might be the best of all of them."

Chris Dempsey: 303-954-1279 or

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: June 30, 2009


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