With an eye towards the 2014 off-season, the Los Angeles Lakers put together a roster for this season filled with players on one-year deals. Players like Xavier Henry, Nick Young and Chris Kaman signed on in an attempt to show their value in order to set-up a big payday at the end of the season.
Another one of those players, Wesley Johnson, has arguably gotten the most out of his experience thus far in LA. As the former fourth overall pick in the 2010 draft, Johnson struggled in his time with the Minnesota Timberwolves and then with the Phoenix Suns, making him seem like a bust in the eyes of many.
However, a solid start to his 2013-14 season has Johnson thinking long-term with the Lakers according to Lang Greene of HoopsWorld.com:
This is definitely a place I want to be, Johnson said on his upcoming free agency. I love Los Angeles. I love the organization. I love the people that I’ve been around since I’ve been there. I definitely think this could be a long term thing. We just have to wait and see.
While head coach Mike D’Antoni has shuffled his lineup quite a bit to begin the season, Johnson has started 16 of the Lakers first 25 games. Metta World Peace’s departure opened up the small forward position in the starting lineup and his length and athleticism at the position has turned a lot of heads.
Johnson is averaging a modest 8.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, but there have been countless times in a game where the Lakers needed a basket and he made the right play.
Seeing Johnson re-sign wouldn’t be shocking as he and Kobe Bryant share the same agent and the Lakers haven’t had an athletic small forward since Trevor Ariza a few years ago. Labeled a “bust” for his poor performance earlier in his NBA career, the 26-year-old small forward might just find himself in Purple and Gold longer than many expected.
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