College, NBA, NBA Draft / Feb 22, 2010 / 9:30 am

Dime NBA Draft Profile: Wesley Johnson

With the season already past the midway point, NBA GMs have their minds set on the NBA Playoffs. But for those teams that will be counting ping pong balls instead of playoff victories, the upcoming NBA Draft has many intriguing prospects that need to be recognized. So before March Madness takes over, Dime contributor Lucas Shapiro will be profiling players and giving them a team that would best fit their talent. Last week was Ohio State’s Evan Turner, so now we’re on to Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson.

Player Comparisons: Shawn Marion, Hakim Warrick and DerMarr Johnson

Athleticism
Johnson runs like a gazelle and leaps like a bullfrog. He’s a great fit for an uptempo team. Any point guard would love playing with Johnson because of his ability to run the floor and get out ahead of defenders on the fastbreak. He’s just an alley-oop waiting to happen. It would not hurt him to add some weight and strength to his frame, since he may need to guard power forwards at times. His hand-eye coordination is good, but his best quality has to be his anticipation skills. Anyone who averages nearly two blocks and two steals per game in college is born to play in the NBA.
Grade: A

Fundamentals
For a guy who is known for his ability to get to the basket, Johnson is an underrated shooter. His shot has NBA three-point range and decent form. The biggest problem that Johnson has is creating shots for himself. His ball-handling skills are mediocre and he benefits from his teammates, who happen to be great passers (i.e Brandon Triche and Andy Rautins). Once he gets to the pros, he’ll need to land on a team with a good point guard to stay productive on the offensive end of the floor. On the defensive end, he has great sliding technique and a solid understanding of team defense.
Grade: B+

NBA Readiness
Since he is already 22 years old, Johnson will be ready for the NBA due to the fact that he’s older than many of players already. Depending on the team that drafts him, Johnson should be able to contribute on offense right away. Coaches will adore his rebounding and defense, thus he should not have to worry about a lack of playing time. He has also already proven that he does not get rattled in crunch time, since Syracuse has been able to win a bunch of tight games.
Grade: A-

Potential
Upside is easily Johnson’s biggest question mark. Scouts are concerned about whether he can develop the ability to score off of the dribble in the League. He still has potential to become a star, but it is more likely that he will become a high-quality role player. In a sense, he is similar to Mo Williams since he’ll need to be on the right team to become an All-Star caliber player.
Grade: B-

Best Fit: New Orleans Hornets
After giving away Rasual Butler, the Hornets have found themselves lacking at the wing positions. Marcus Thornton is a start to their quest for good swingmen, and Johnson could fulfill their needs. Hopefully, the Hornets will hire a coach who is willing to let Chris Paul run an uptempo offense since Johnson could run the break with him effectively.

Runner-Up: Utah Jazz*
Although Andrei Kirilenko‘s time in Utah could end in the near future, Johnson could learn some tricks of the trade from him. Jerry Sloan is great at developing young talent and making sure they are ready to contribute right away. Johnson’s lack of go-to-moves can be hidden by Deron Williams‘ play-making ability. This would be a great situation since Johnson would not have the pressure to make a big contribution right away, but could also have a big role on a possible contender.

*Knicks fans, you can thank Isiah Thomas for making it possible that they Jazz could get a guy like Johnson.

What do you think?

Dime NBA Draft Profile: John Wall
Dime NBA Draft Profile: Evan Turner

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  • Otto

    Already announced several times on these forums that I am the biggest Cuse fan around. That being said, I still can’t blindly throw love Wesley Johnson’s way. Sometimes I doubt his crunch time abilities. He usually disappears at the end of games and displays little of the vaunted “will to win.”

    Somebody please show the real engine of the Orange some love: Andy Rautins. The kid is legit – may not thrive in the NBA (heck, may not even make it there) but Andy’s basketball IQ is on another level.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    “Anyone who averages nearly two blocks and two steals per game in college is born to play in the NBA.”

    Wow. I may have never read a more ridiculous statement (and untrue) by DIME on this website.

    Stomile Swift was often described as an “alley oop waiting to happen” and a “potential star” and look how that turned out.

    I’ll admit I haven’t seem that much of Wesley this year but the games I did see he sort of reminded me of Terence Morris.

  • Leroy Shonuff

    “He’s just an alley-oop waiting to happen.” What does that mean exactly? I can find thousands of guys who are an alley-oop ready to happen. Hey Will Ferrell and Patti LaBelle invented the alley-oop. I like Johnson as a player…but he is a more polished eddie robinson to me. Which isn’t bad but a number 3 pick….ummm no! If im utah trade that pick for more picks and veteran players

  • JRod

    Outside of Wall, Turner, and possibly Cousins, this draft is the biggest crapshoot since 07′, after Oden, Durant, and Horford; Conley, Green, Jianlian, Brewer, Hawes, Noah, Out of those six Green and Noah may be the only two that would play pivotal pieces on a contender, not good for Top Ten, this year seems to be heading that way, Johnson, Favors, Aminu, Eddie Davis, all have a lot to prove.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Aron Phillips

    @Leroy Shonuff

    Eddie Robinson? You’re crazy. ‘Cuse could win the national title this year, and are at least a lock for the Final Four. And a huge part of that is Wes Johnson. You clearly have not watched him play.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @Spliff — Well, Stromile DID play in the NBA. Never said anybody averaging 2 steals and 2 blocks in college would be a star in the League.

  • Paul Willis

    This comments are ridiculous… Wes Johnson is the leader of the cuse hands down. Rautins is truly underrated… but dont overrate him, please. He still is a turnover machine, but he comes to play.

    Slump or not, Johnson has proven himself and should never be mentioned with Ed Davis, Aminu, or Favors… he’s won games for his team with offense and defense which is something u cant say for a lot of these top prospects. Plus you can’t express enough how much being able to SHOOT means in the NBA. Wall, Turner…. basically everyone in this draft has something to prove in that category, but WES JOHNSON. You guys are crazy! LOL

  • mules

    @ Aron…why you gotta go and jinx my team like that? A LOCK for the Final Four?…I don’t think there’s ever been such a thing. The tourney’s one-and-done and crazy shit happens in March.