Person fills perimeter-shooting void

Updated: March 5, 2005, 12:19 AM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- The Denver Nuggets may have finally found the outside shooting threat they've been missing all season, signing Wesley Person on Thursday to replace injured shooting guard Voshon Lenard for the playoff run.

Denver had been in need of an outside shooter after Lenard went down with a torn Achilles' tendon in the season opener. The Nuggets had been searching since Lenard's injury, but couldn't find the right fit until Person was released by Miami on Tuesday.

"It's obvious we need more spacing," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "We've got some guys who's post-ups and penetrations will be better because of the spacing. Sometimes you can trick teams, you have one shooter and they think you have three or four."

Person wasn't expected to play much Thursday night against Indiana, though he'll likely be in a guard rotation that includes Earl Boykins and Andre Miller, Person's former teammate in Cleveland.

Denver placed guard Luis Flores on the injured list with a strained hamstring to make room for person. Flores was acquired in a trade with Golden State on Feb. 24 with forward Eduardo Najera.

Person figures to be a better fit in Denver than he was in Miami.

Expected to fill in as a spot-up shooter for the Heat, Person instead spent most of the season watching from the bench. He averaged 3.9 points in just 16 games and had played just four games since Dec. 4 because he refused to go on the injured list.

"It started from Day 1, just got off to a bad start," Person said. "Playing time was down, and we just never could understand why. I was going there to play a role. It got to a point where they started disrespecting me. I think I work hard in my career for nine years. I stayed professional. It didn't work out there, but I'm glad to be here."

The Nuggets are certainly glad to have him.

Person has averaged 11.3 points in his 10-year career and is a career 41 percent shooter from 3-point range, ranking 21st in league history with 1,117 field goals from beyond the arc.

That should make a perfect fit for the Nuggets, who have lacked a consistent outside shooting threat since Lenard's injury. Denver is the league's second-worst 3-point shooting team at 30.9 percent and has no one shooting over 37 percent.

"We are very fortunate to be able to add a proven shooter like Wesley to our team," general manager Kiki Vandeweghe said. "We believe he will be a great addition."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press