Despite locking up Chandler Parsons and brining in Richard Jefferson and Greg Smith, the Dallas Mavericks could still use some help at the forward positions. With a shallow market, the pickings are now slim.
A forgotten name in the free agency scrum has been former Lakers forward Wesley Johnson. During his only season with the Lakers last year, Johnson registered career numbers in points, rebounds, blocks, and steals.
Johnson was selected fourth by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2010 draft. He was projected to become a destructive two-way player due to his size at 6’7 with a 7’1 wingspan. Johnson never quite panned out in Minnesota and he was shipped to Phoenix after just two years.
After spending a season in Phoenix, Johnson found himself in Los Angeles. Mike D’Antoni’s system allowed Johnson to flourish as a free-flowing wing, free to shoot as many three-pointers as his heart desired.
Johnson shot nearly 37 percent from behind the arc last season after being an average to below average three-point shooter for the majority of his career. He also began making some the of the dynamic defensive plays that scouts and executive expected him to make when he came out of college.
Maybe this is a case of the Lakers spotlight casting a favorable shadow, but Johnson seems like the kind of young player on an upward trajectory that the Mavs should take a chance on.
Johnson fits the mold of the low risk high reward players that the Mavericks usually capitalize on. Carlisle has the ability to mold Johnson into a maniacal force on the defensive end. Assuming Johnson’s shooting is not an aberration, he could fit perfectly as a bench option.
Additionally, Johnson played major minutes at the power forward position. Currently the Mavs do not have anyone to backup Dirk Nowitzki. Johnson could fill Shawn Marion‘s role as a small forward and small ball power forward.
There has been no reported interest in Johnson throughout the free agency period, which leads me to believe that he could be had at the minimum. Wesley Johnson resembles the exact gamble that typically pays off for the Mavs; he’s worth a shot.