Report: Lakers to Sign FA Wesley Johnson

Darius Soriano —  July 13, 2013

After signing Chris Kaman, Nick Young, and working on a buyout to get Jordan Farmar on board, the Lakers have made another move in free agency. From Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times:

From the opening of free agency, Johnson has been a player of interest and someone I thought could make sense for the Lakers  as a value signing:

If you’re looking for a wing player who fits into the mold of the type of guy the Lakers should take a risk on, Johnson is your guy. He checks off the desirable boxes of youth, athleticism (though he’s not an elite athlete), and good size for his position. Johnson was also a former lottery pick who flashed talent, but never found a way to put it all together in Minnesota or in Phoenix. As far as his game, Johnson has always been seen as a player who would impact the game offensively, but I see most of his upside coming on the other side of the floor. He has good length and can slide his feet well enough and that translates to being able to guard either wing position fairly well. Last season in Phoenix he held opposing SF’s to a PER of 12.4 and SG’s to a PER of 14.5, numbers that show a certain amount of defensive ability. His problem has been that he hasn’t been able to do enough offensively to stay on the floor and considering that’s his pedigree, he’s largely been a disappointment. However, if he can remake himself into a solid “3 and D” player (he only shot 32.3% on threes last season, but did shoot 35.6% his rookie year), he can have value in this league.

Johnson is by no means a difference maker and should not be viewed as some savior heading into next season. The Lakers will be his 3rd team since being drafted #4 overall in the 2010 draft and the fact that he’s been given up on twice this early in his career doesn’t inspire confidence. When you add the fact that Johnson is already 26 years old (for comparison’s sake, Kevin Durant is 24), we may be looking at a player who doesn’t have much “upside” left. Or at least the type you’d hope for when talking about a player drafted as high as he was so recently.

That said, 26 is by no means ancient and the NBA has a habit of giving up on young players too early in their careers. Sometimes it takes some failure and a guy refitting his game to a new role under different expectations to really find his niche. The hope is that Johnson can follow that path rather than simply being another on a long list of lottery flameouts.

Even if Johnson doesn’t pan out, however, he’s well worth the risk at this price and playing in the role he’ll likely be asked to fill. As a bench player who will likely be sharing the floor with at least one (and likely two) of Kobe, Steve Nash, and Pau at all times, he can work as a slasher and spot up shooter on offense. As a wing working on the weak side, he should see plenty of late rotations to him when he’s spotting up and if he can work well off the ball, he should be able to sneak in for easy shots around the basket as the defense rotates away from him.

And, as noted in the excerpt above, I think he has very good potential as a defensive wing where he offers above average physical attributes. He can guard either shooting guards or small forwards and can also help down in the paint when needed. He’s also a capable defensive rebounder who can slide down and get on the glass when big men rotate.

Ultimately, this is a very good signing for the Lakers as they continue to add depth at reasonable prices. Johnson has some ability and with a reduced role where he can play off superior teammates, he may just find a place in this league. And, if he doesn’t, it’s a small financial commitment. Sounds like a win-win situation for both sides.

Darius Soriano

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50 responses to Report: Lakers to Sign FA Wesley Johnson

  1. I agree. This is a low-risk high-reward signing by the lakers knowing that mwp’s defense will be missed. As far as offense , i think he is more talented than mwp. Good slasher ,can create his own shot, plays above the rim and good basketball instincts. Some of the weakness might consists of, low self-confidence since this is his 3rd team, poor 3 point shooting percentage, foul prone and poor rebounding skills in his size. But I’ll give this acquisition by the lakers a B-. Next in line Lamar Odom.

  2. Yahoo!! My only wish now is a mobile, shot-blocking 4 for the vet min as neither Kaman/Pau/Hill can do this. Tyrus Thomas, maybe?

  3. WJ should be a welcomed addition to the bench mob. Solid, low-risk pick-up. Kup is doing a decent job signing serviceable players considering that there is not much financial wiggle room to spare. LO, Maggette or T. Thomas would be nice additions also.

  4. This is rounding up like a nice team if healthy, im scared of what Mitch can do with money to burn.In Mitch i trust…

  5. Mitch is doing fine so far. Would ve preferred giving the mini mid to Clark rather than Kaman but the other signings are right on. We need a backup defensive rebounder and that’s Ivan Johnson. Tough blue collar guy.
    Nash Kobe Wesley hill Pau to start with and then
    Farmar Meeks Young Ivan Kaman off the bench. Nice team considering cap hold.
    I can see Mitch dumping Blake for sure and then possibly Hill for a pick trying to get under the tax hit

  6. This is one pick-up I was really hoping for. While he won’t directly replace MWP, he can certainly fill shoes there and provide some well needed flexibility.

    Kobe is known for ‘bit’ players around him having career years playing with him. I am hoping WJ will be the Earl Clark of 2013-14, perhaps on the defensive side, too. Also, Kaman, Farmar, & Young are all hoping to resurrect their carriers – this speaks well for a couple of them to work out and that makes the Lakers better next season.

    With just a little health luck, we have three very front line players and some talent to fight for spots on the 2nd unit. Chemistry could be great and growing throughout. Me thinks it could be an interesting year.

  7. this is looking like a real team. health is the biggest issue. this team will have enough horses. even if it isn’t the most overwhelminly powerful group in the NBA, it should be one that is capable of beating everyone if things go well.

    last year everything went as badly as possible. perhaps the balance will be more in the Lakers’ favor this year.

  8. If he could get in the right mindstate, L.O. could be a good signing, but between his papparazo lashout and the possibility of ill feelings still floating from his Lakers departure I’m not enitrely sure picking him up would be a good decision.Tyrus Thomas could be good but I would assume the Knicks may get him.

  9. This is a good add, and probably they will pick up a 4 (Odom or someone like Ivan Johnson, as noted) to finish it off. The question, of course, is whether trying to put together a 43-win 8th-seed is in the franchise’s long-term interests, or if they would be better off trying to trade Pau, Nash and Hill. I don’t have an answer to this question.

    Right now, the West’s top tier is:
    SA OKC LAC MEM HOU
    then comes
    GS
    then probably
    DEN MIN POR
    LAKERS DAL NO

  10. Nice to see a signing that many of us here have felt would be beneficial. Low risk, with a fair bit of potential.

    Now for that athletic 4…

  11. Also, for people getting excited by this: Johnson played pretty well late in the year, but he has been a waiver-level guy according to all relevant stats and he is 26–not that young. That is why I mentioned him originally–he was gettable–but he was available at the vet min for a reason.

  12. The rankings in the West are SA GSW Rockets OKC Clipps Memphis Denver Pprtland/Lakers/ Minnesota pending health. Depending on Kobe n Pau a health we can be even higher.
    We are all glad for Wesley signing. Still miss Clark!

  13. i think W.Johnson is a good pickup for us, considering he’s only 26 and playing for the minimum (there could be a reason behind this, but I’ll still take him because as everyone mentioned,its very low-risk. we now have a candidate for a starting SF. I also feel that he should start working on his 3pt shot more, as D’Antonis offense heavily relies on shooters.

  14. The other guy I hope gets a chance is CDR. We need a backup 3 with size. CDR can create and score and is well liked by Kobe. We can use him.
    Blake can be dumped. Hopefully even a 2nd round pick. Hill possibly for a first round pick. Mitch keep working. Had we had these moves last year, the outcome would ve been different but never mind. It’s done and Dwight never embraced being a Laker. He ran from it. No ill feelings. Lakernation forever!

  15. Warren Wee Lim July 14, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Everything in Lakerland right now is based off on “price range” and guys like Wes Johnson can show for a Jordan Hill-type of opportunity. Who better to do it than the coach that made 7-secs or less and Linsanity.

    Lakerland is so obsessed w/ big names that they forget how Mitch and Jim work under the radar guys and make them productive. Earl Clark would’ve been happy getting a minimum contract right now if not for his opportunity last season. Instead, he’s going to be 4.5M richer (or 9M).

    The Lakers have quickly become a different team. This team will have adversity on their side and this team will have something to prove. I was advocating trading Pau Gasol because he didn’t fit w/ Dwight. Now its time to recognize that it was actually the other way around: If you can’t play beside Pau then there’s something wrong with you.

    Pau Gasol being backed up by Chris Kaman is almost perfect. They can spend 6 minutes beside each other depending on what kind of team we play against, while securing that we have a talented centers all game.

    I have a feeling Steve Blake will be traded elsewhere.

    And just like that, the Lakers just got about 6 years younger.

  16. Warren Wee Lim July 14, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are still old. Chris Kaman is still relatively old as well. However this time, the Lakers can play something that they have never or could never do last season: Run. With players on the age 26 range, the Lakers can now secretly surprise everyone with a playoff run and with Kobe, Steve and Pau as the team’s elder statesmen. All 3 players are clutch too mind you, can hit the clutch free throw if needed. Suddenly, we became San Antonio.

    Everyone wrote off the Spurs many years ago. All of their moves were unceremonious, unpopular and just plain boring. They got scraps from other teams. They looked at the garbage bin for guys that could atleast fill a role. The once-vaunted Spurs defense has changed into a dynamic offensive team. Still led by its top 3 veterans but now trusting the younger ones to carry them through a brutal 82-game schedule.

    Mike D’ Antoni is plenty excited. He should be. His roster is now more or less tailored into his liking. He can finally coach a team thats his and thus allows for better success.

    PG: Steve Nash – Steve Blake* – Jordan Farmar
    SG: Kobe Bryant – Jodie Meeks –
    SF: Nick Young – Wesley Johnson
    PF: Jordan Hill – Ryan Kelly
    CE: Pau Gasol – Chris Kaman – Robert Sacre

    Its not a surprise we still need a body or 2 at the forward position. Nick Young is a natural guard and thus I see him play the hybrid 2/3.

  17. I love LO, but I want K-Mart on this team. The perfect defense and energy guy off the bench.

  18. Decent pickup for the Lakers. His last 20+ games in PHX he was doing about 13pts, 1.6 3s, 3-4 rbs and a steal in 29mins per game. Needs to work on his 42% FG shooting though.

  19. I apologise for flogging a dead horse, however regarding the Dwight Howard dilemma I think Lakers fans can take solace in this perspective – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0o4crq6DNc

    What strikes me most about Dwight (having listened to his espn interview today) is his constant talk of “having fun”. What I admire most about Kobe is that his “fun” is his outer drive, his determination, his ability to ruffle feathers despite how he may be perceived in order to win. I’m reading Tim Grover’s book at the moment and I’m forming an even greater appreciation of the greatness of Kobe. Kobe embraces the difficult without apology and I have utmost admiration for him because of it. Dwight is completely entitled to play wherever he choses don’t get me wrong. But I can’t help but feel he should have been honoured to play with the greatest of Kobe.

  20. Renato Afonso July 14, 2013 at 5:04 am

    I like this signing and I agree that Steve Blake will probably get traded sooner or later. Farmar is a perfectly capable PG who will allow Nash to rest his old bones (unless MDA plans on running the vets to the ground). I’m not saying that Blake wouldn’t fit this team. What I’m saying is that after using the amnesty provision on MWP the next trade the Lakers make will be a capa saving move. No point in moving Nash if they plan to make the playoffs so they’re better off trading Blake.

    Regarding the athletic PF we all agree is missing, here’s the thing… My favorite would be Lamar Odom if he could turn back the clock two years. I don’t think he will be able to and my second option would be K-Mart. However, I believe Martin will try to find some team willing to pay him more than the vet’s minimum. Plus, all of our roster has a lot of good character guys. Guys that I believe will develop great team chemistry. Would K-Mart fit into that?

    And on the subject of the West playoff landscape, I think that if Kobe returns soon enough, people will be surprised. GS had a perfect break during the regular season last year and their overall record had 2 more wins than us with a worse point differential. Granted that they added Iguodala and they will improve a little bit but we had a season from hell and nearly caught them in the end. We won’t be fighting for a top 4 seed but with a training camp so that everyone learns MDA’s system (doesn’t matter how terrible it is, as long as the players buy into it), good chemistry, good 3 point shooting and superb post play from Gasol and we would be in the playoffs for sure. Would we beat OKC in a playoff series? Of course not, but maybe we wouldn’t need to…

  21. Love this signing, for the simple reason that most vet minimum contracts tend to be washed up vets – to get someone with actual potential (albeit limited, as his age is pointed out in the piece) is a steal. If this is a throwaway year, might as well take shots on youngish guys who at least have the potential to develop into rotation players (Ariza, Danny Green, Shannon Brown) rather than guys on their last legs like Kenyon Martin. (Odom I’d be OK with for sentimental reasons, but in general I’d rather take the younger guns).

    Wonder what this means for CDR’s chances. I was really hoping he’d make the team this year. There’s other players – Selby, Snaer – on our summer league roster that also intrigue.

  22. Guys, do you really want KMart on this team? Because me personally , i think its not worth it.

  23. I don’t believe that trading Blake’s salary would get us under the cap apron and make 2013/14 the first of two years needed to avoid the repeater tax. Therefore, I doubt we will simply get rid of him. If you are going to save money then do it for a reason, not just for grins and giggles.

    The Lakers could have an interesting season – what with multiple younger players, but not rookies, to look at and develop under some of the best vets playing the game in Nash, Kobe, and Pau. For that reason I believe we should get Lamar back instead of KMart (who I don’t think would come anyway). This year we are about chemistry and learning. By the end of the year we just might be a dangerous club that is fun to watch – think GSW last year. Well… Mitch did learn under Jerry.

    Really guys???…everything I say is held up in limbo, then published.

  24. Warren Wee Lim July 14, 2013 at 6:33 am

    Kenyon Martin can help but he should not be the top choice right now. Lamar Odom, would give Kobe yet another buddy to call his own. These are guys who have learned to play WITH Kobe and these are guys that have tasted the success under his leadership.

    The roster has an array of talents, although we’re getting 1-way mirrors with most of them, what can we actually expect out of our veteran’s minimum signings?

    I can envision the Lakers succeeding over most “potential” teams simply because Nash, Kobe and Pau are old dogs that know all the tricks. Despite their combined ages exceeding 100, the Lakers have, to me, successfully infused young-ish talents whose skillsets fit what we need.

    Jordan Farmar is nothing like Nash. He is a speedy guard, decent but streaky shooter, who knows speed. Meeks, though he can’t make a layup to save his life, thrives with pace as well. Welcome in Nick Young and Wesley Johnson, these are 2 guys that are fighting to have careers. They are not old and this is their best opportunity to audition for their next contracts. While both have their own limitations on both sides of the ball, they are young enough and athletic enough to atleast give us decency.

    Chris Kaman is a skilled center. We know he can knock down that 15-footer with consistency. His addition, while he is nowhere near Dwight Howard, gives us rebounding and the chance to run pick-and-pop with BOTH our centers. While its questionable if he and Pau can roll together, atleast he won’t have the ego to be hurt if he isn’t at the end of games in Pau’s favor.

    The theme will be reunion and redemption… I think Mitch has found very good players to successfully write this hollywood ending. While everyone has written the Lakers off, from coaching staff to ownership, this is our chance to show that we are not going out so easily. This is our chance to show our pride and what it means to be a Laker.

  25. @ Warren Wee Lim: Quote: “Lakerland is so obsessed w/ big names that they forget how Mitch and Jim work under the radar guys and make them productive.”

    Wrong. It is Mitch who is doing this. Jim Buss is the one who intereferes, makes the mistakes and alienates players, and plays Mr. Scrooge. You can look at it as Good Guy – Bad Guy.

  26. Curent roster:

    Pg – Nash, blake farmar
    Sg – johnson, meeks, young*, blake*, farmar* – kobe when he gets back
    Sf – young, johnson, kobe*
    pf – hill, pau
    c – kaman, pau*, hill*, sacre

    Whats needed now:

    If you look at the makeup of the team then it is obvious that we now need a player that can move betweem the 3-4 who is big and long enough to guard the lebron/durant/melo class of sf smallball pfs out there

    First take is that odom would fit best as that single player or we could go with some kind of combination of stephen jackson/maggette at sf and elton brand/ ivan johnson / maxiel / thomas at pf

    We still need at least 2 players to be at the minimum roster level so eeiher way we will still be looking at a few other options for the bench

    Players that I think would also be very interesting would be al harrington and turkoglu if they get bought out by orlando

    They both have length and size and can shoot the 3 – may be a step slow now but in playing for a team lile the lakers we might be appealing to them – I thought it would have been cool to have harrington on the team whem lamar and ron where here as they all grew up in ny together but that has kind of passsed us by – if ron ends up.with the clippers though maybe he would want to come to la just to be aroumd them

  27. Warren Wee Lim July 14, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Jameskatt,

    I don’t know with your sources (or lack thereof) but I’d like to pin mine on actual management decision-making. Mitch is the GM, but Jim Buss is the one running the show. If you wish to credit Jim Buss only on failures and not on successes then we really can’t have a logical debate.

  28. In terms of the west standings

    1 – spurs
    2 – clippers
    3 – golden state
    4 – Okc
    5 – Houston
    6 – Denver
    7/8 – memphis / portland/ lakers / minnesota

    golden state got a lot better this offseason – igoudala is an upgrade over jack and speights is a wash with landry + bogut will play more this year and oneal could help their 2md unit compred to bierdins

    Clippers should be a lot better – they are even deeper now will probably get jamison and overall they are like 11-12 deep with rotation players

    Okc takes a step back losing martin amd still not adding anyone this offseason -1 dimensional iso durant westbrook offense plus westbrook is coming offo of surgury

    houston will be better – howard was still a force for us last year and he should.be healthier this year – thry could even be a top 3 team

    Denver and memphis both take a step back while portland moves up with a much improved bench and lakers will either moves down or lateral due to chemistry / health but with kobe out half the year its probably back

  29. Mitch is definitely on his job. This is a move that I and plenty others within this FB&G Community was advocating for. WJ is an individual who Kobe once took under his wing, so even though he was upset with the fact that Metta was waived using the Amnesty Provision, I would imagine that he’s on board with this acquisition.

    Personally, this helps take some of the sting away by us losing another solid role player from this past season, my man Earl Clark. And I’m hoping that his (WJ’s) tenure with the organization will last for more than the 1 yr that he’ll be signed for.

  30. My West Standings:

    1. Clippers
    2. Spurs
    3. Thunder
    4. Rockets
    5. Warriors
    6. Lakers
    7. Grizzlies
    8. Nuggets

    Call be overly optimistic, but I think if the Lakers are healthy they can surprise everyone and end up 4th.

  31. Warren Wee Lim July 14, 2013 at 8:54 am

    I believe the Clippers have progressed, however, consider me unimpressed with their team.

  32. I don’t know, man, they look very scary to me. Add Doc to the equation and damn…

  33. I’ve noticed the Lakers have been strategically targeting a particular sub-set of players: 1st round draft picks in or just coming off their rookie deals that have underperformed. They have come in either through FA or in trades (either small trades for the player or as ‘throw-ins’):

    Jordan Hill – 1st Round, 8th pick by NY Knicks 2009
    – Obtained via Derek Fisher trade
    Nick Young – 1st Round, 16th pick by WAS Wizards 2007*
    – Obtained via 2013 FA
    Earl Clark – 1st Round, 14th pick by PHX Suns 2009
    – Obtained via Dwight Howard trade as a ‘throw-in’
    Wesley Johnson – 1st Round, 4th pick by MINN Timberwolves 2010
    – Obtained via 2013 FA
    Adam Morrison – 1st Round, 3rd pick by CHA Bobcats 2006
    – Obtained via trade for Vladimir Radmonovic
    Kwame Brown – 1st Round, 1st pick by WAS Wizards 2001
    – Obtained via trade for Caron Butler
    Christian Eyenga – 1st Round, 30th pick by CLE Cavaliers 2009
    – Obtained via trade for Luke Walton as a ‘throw-in’ for the Ramon Sessions deal
    Shannon Brown – 1st Round, 25th pick by CLE Cavaliers 2006
    – Obtained via trade for Vladimir Radmonovic as a ‘throw-in’ along w/Morrison

    *Young cleared his rookie deal and had two 1-year qualifying offers first w/the Wizards and then w/76ers this past season but I think he fits the mold of the discussion

    Hill, Clark, and Brown all went on to have productive seasons with the Lakers, basically out-performing their historical marks. The jury is out on Johnson and Young but the hopes are high. Morrison, Kwame, and Eyenga never amounted to much but all ended up in trades for productive talent or served another purpose (i.e. cap relief, trade package for Pau Gasol, and trade package for Dwight Howard, respectively).

    My point is, the Lakers lack of decent 1st round draft picks of their own has not completely precluded them from being smart and finding young talent. Kudos to Mitch and Jim for making the most out of not having a whole lot to work with.

  34. Another thing that list shows is that Kupchak, perhaps influenced by his own background, tends to like guys with big-college pedigrees. His draft picks over the last few years reflect this as well. Most of the guys on that list are products of power-conference programs, and Morrison went to the most powerful mid-major.

  35. . Its been a long time since the Lakers had to depend on prduction from so many role players.who now make up the bulk of the team. Waiting to see where Odom will go. I do believe Kobe will make many of these role players better thru instruction and example.

  36. Good signing Mitch surprises me even tho by now he shouldn’t

  37. Kenyon Martin please. He’s the ultimate trash man for cheap. Block shots. Rebounds/putbacks. Uber aggressive.

  38. Peoole dont know what they talking about, Jim alienates players? How you know? If he alienated Lamar and Gasol it was bc he was triying to get freaking CP, the diference is that Pau took it like the pro he is and Lamar threw a fit.D12 left bc he could not handle LA. Not bc of Jim Buss so far he dont make a fool of himself like Cuban and keep a low profile. And he is actually letting Mitch do his thing. Mistakes have been made but he is not the worse. We could have the Maloofsas owners or Sterling who is still a horrible owner despite this success he enjoying courtesy of the NBA.

  39. jameskatt: I do find it interesting Mitch is the only one who should get credit. He has a boss who signs off these deals and that happens to be Jim Buss. I think Jim has done an okay job ingratiating himself with the fans but his stepped up his public appearances since he’s taken over. Also it’s not a smooth transition for all going from a behind the scenes guy to sitting across the table from nba superstars. Kobe said he’s been fine so we people not in the know should take his word for it.

    Lakers have gotten younger on the perimeter and definitely will be a team, living and dying by the jump shot. They signed a few young players who should be going into their primes. A couple steps forward from those guys and the bench is stronger. Which will make the team stronger. Big question is still defense and rebounding. If that’s not a collective effort the offense could be for naught.

    Kobe has to be happy after losing Dwight, Lakers pick up these guys. He asked publicly for youth, speed ad length on the perimeter and that’s what Lakers are getting. Also think this move gives Lakers that ability to put Nick Young’s scoring punch on the bench.

  40. rr,

    Agreed, as I think the only non-Euro non-HS draft pick Mitch made lately from a small program was Goudelock out of the College of Charleston.

  41. In the last 15 years, the Lakers have selected 13 players who where either from small schools or overseas while drafting 17 players from the major, big college conferences:

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/blog/eye-on-college-basketball/22290026/nba-draft-trends-how-western-teams-make-their-picks

  42. Morrison, Kwame, and Eyenga never amounted to much but all ended up in trades for productive talent or served another purpose

    This relates to a point I made a couple of days ago, which was that there is nothing wrong value/$ wise with any of the signings Kupchak/Buss have made, but we will need to see how they connect to what happens over the next three years. There are very few moves that are totally meaningless.

    Also, since some people seem to be back In-Mitch-We-Trust mode, the fact that he got Young, Farmar, and Johnson for the minimum underscores some of my frustration with last year’s bench and with the Steve Blake deal. There are guys out there at the minimum who are better than guys like Morris, Duhon, and Ebanks. It is harder of course during the season, but the Lakers still should have tried to add a point and a wing off the free-talent pile during the season last year.

  43. Darius,

    I said “last few years” not “last fifteen years” and even the non-power conference guys came from pedigree situations. Ebanks was on a Final Four team at WVA; Sacre went to Gonzaga. Going back to 2003:

    Duke
    Michigan
    College of Charleston
    West Virginia
    UTEP
    Florida State
    Arkansas
    Texas A/M
    Kentucky
    Georgia Tech
    UCLA
    Illinois
    Arizona

    They picked Bynum out of HS and Sasha out of Slovenia. There were the throwaway foreign picks (Samb, Yue, Majok, Maduabum) and the brilliant Marc Gasol pick. When they have had first-rounders, they did go with Sasha and Bynum but also with Morris, Toney Douglas, Javaris Crittenton, Farmar, and Brian Cook.

  44. Largely agree with what’s been said thus far. It’s been too long since LA had a real small forward to keep up with the new style 3 & D guys playing that spot these days. With he and Nick Young, LA gets a huge and long overdue boost of youth and athleticism on the wings. I don’t see any reason that WJ can’t become at least as good as Ariza, as this article projects:
    http://leaguebeats.com/2013/07/14/a-long-strange-trip-from-dwight-to-wes-johnson/

  45. This is the type of player the Lakers should avoid. The team defense was worse when he was on the floor and his shooting has been poor. In addition, Wesley is a poor ball handler. The Lakers should focus on players with at least one strong NBA skill to fill out the bench.

    Also, I am not a fan of signing Odom. The cancer that is the Khardasian family is not needed in the Lakers locker room.

  46. @Baylor Fan: just out of curiosity, who would you prefer that the Lakers sign at this stage of free agency? Remember, we’re talking minimum deals here…I’d venture to say that there are no better players than WJ and Nick Young remaining on the market who would sign for the min.

  47. http://www.clublakers.com/lakers-discussion/laker-scouting-reports-t115206.html

    Seems like the guy who wrote the scouting report here has some hope for Johnson, but man, that’s a lot of weaknesses.

  48. Nice pick up again.

    Looking good now with Kaman, Young, Farmar, Johnson

    Better than Ebanks, Morris, Goudelock, Duhon

  49. @James Interesting scouting report. I think much will depend on what Lakers ask him to do. For instance, the report mentions that Wes Can’t attack off the dribble to get to the rim. Perhaps true, but from when WJ killed it at Cuse, he was both a monster finisher on the break and inside off of good feeds and put backs. I think Shawn Marion is an appropriate comp. in that respect. I’m not saying that he’s on or near Marion’s level, but Marion too has always lacked the ball-handling to get to the rim on his own accord. That hasn’t stopped him from being a great finisher. Much in the same mold, I’d expect WJ to play some stretch 4 for D’Antoni and improve his efficiency w/feeds from Nash.

    Ariza, Shannon Brown also weren’t known as three point shooters when they arrived in LA. By defining their roles narrowly, LA was able to get each to improve a great deal. Let’s see what they can do w/WJ.

  50. “I’ve noticed the Lakers have been strategically targeting a particular sub-set of players: 1st round draft picks in or just coming off their rookie deals that have underperformed”

    There are 30 first-round picks a year, and if you arbitrarily assumed they all last at least 3 years then at least 25% of the players in the league are former 1st rounders. Looking at them is almost unavoidable. Lots of quantity, but I have confidence in Kupchak’s track record of sifting for quality.