Nuggets score big with Ty Lawson pick-up

Even hardcore Nuggets fans didn't go into last night's NBA draft expecting the team to do much. After all, the squad had the number 34 selection -- the sort of position that would likely result in the drafting of a European player we'd never see in a baby-blue uni. And that's precisely what happened. The Nugs grabbed Spanish guard Sergio Llull, then traded his rights to the Houston Rockets for what the Denver Post described as "cash considerations" -- meaning, probably, that Denver won't have to consider using any of its cash to pay him. But they also traded a 2010 pick to Minnesota for North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson -- a flat-out great move.

One of the true stars of the Tarheels' 2009 national championship squad, Lawson excelled against the best college competition in the land. Moreover, his drive-and-penetrate game, on view in the above montage from a February game against Duke, will translate well to the NBA, particularly if Chauncey Billups teaches him a little bit about kicking out. And while he has a significant blemish on his record -- a 2008 arrest for drinking, driving and playing his music too loud -- he's not seen as an irredeemable ne'er do well. All in all, an impressive acquisition that may turn out to be one of the draft's biggest steals.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts