The Los Angeles Lakers made a plethora of changes over the off season, including the addition of Wesley Johnson. Johnson is a versatile player and although he has not found stable footing so far in his short NBA career, there is a chance he can shine in Los Angeles.
Coach Mike D’Antoni talked with the Los Angeles Times and he said he can vision Johnson as being a Shawn Merion type player. D’Antoni coached Merion during his time with the Phoenix Suns and those two helped bring the franchise to great heights. Although Merion had an orthodox style of play, he was effective on both ends of the court.
D’Antoni wants Johnson to mimic Marion and be a dangerous player off the bench or even in the starting five.
“What coaches have to coach Shawn Marion?” D’Antoni said. “That was the experience I had and I told Wesley and that’s a lofty goal, no doubt about it, because Shawn is obviously one of the better players in the league — but [Johnson] has a lot of those qualities. He can do that. He can disrupt at the four.”
“I was watching clips, an edit of him, what he was able to do,” said Johnson, on Marion playing the four, or power forward, position. “He used his quickness.”
Johnson had a rough debut with the Lakers and he was only able to score three points, but his defense in the fourth quarter helped guide the Lakers to victory. Although in the box score Johnson’s number did not impress, his effort and intensity were very important during Tuesday night’s game.
The Lakers will be without Kobe Bryant for at least several weeks, so the coaching staff needs to get solid production out of players like Johnson in order to succeed.
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