Wesley Johnson is entering his 4th season in the NBA, and first with the Los Angeles Lakers after signing as a free agent on July 15. He will most likely be coming off the bench for most of the season behind Kobe Bryant, but could see some starters’ minutes at the small forward position, as he is considered a “swingman”, being able to play shooting guard as well.
With Bryant still recovering from last season’s injury, and the small forward position still up for grabs in the rotation, this season is an opportunity for Johnson to prove himself, and perhaps find a more permanent NBA home, as the Lakers are his third team in four years. Johnson is a capable shooter and rebounder, and though he was brought in as a “filler”, like many of the other new faces on the Lakers this year, Johnson is still very young, and could thrive in MDA’s system and under the direction of Steve Nash. Johnson will also provide a perimeter threat, being a capable 3-point shooter, an added offensive option for the Lakers’ big men to look for when the ball is in their hands deep in the post.
Johnson will also be looked upon for added perimeter defense, very likely serving a similar role left vacated by Metta World Peace. That said, don’t be surprised if we see Johnson starting at the small forward position for a good portion of the season. MDA has mentioned the possibility of Johnson playing some time at power forward, but he does seem a little under-sized there, though we could see it if & when the Lakers play small ball.
In interviews, Johnson has been emphatic about this season with the Lakers providing him the fresh start he has craved, and avoiding the “bust” label as the 4th pick in the 2010 draft. The opportunity will be there. The rest is on him.