With all the injuries that the Minnesota Timberwolves have had to endure throughout the 2012-13 NBA season, they’ve obviously been forced to make some tweaks with their roster. One of the tweaks that they made with the injuries to Kevin Love and Chase Budinger was to sign third-year forward Chris Johnson to a 10-day contract and, subsequently, another deal for the rest of the season.
Johnson has played in just 21 games for the Wolves this season and hasn’t been a key contributor by any means. In fact, he’s a little-used frontcourt player off the bench that averages just 11.9 minutes per game. However, it’s almost always fun when he’s on the court.
Looking at his stats for this season, it’s hard to see the fun in averaging five points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game on 63.2 percent shooting. Those numbers are really just run-of-the-mill and can be put up by a plethora of little-used big-men around the league. However, the thing that sets Johnson apart is how he accrues his stats.
Every time Johnson steps onto the floor he has at least one play that is jaw drop. He is undoubtedly blessed with world-class athleticism that he puts on display. Sometimes he’ll catch an alley-oop that you thought was thrown too high. Sometimes he comes out of nowhere on the weak-side to block a shot that most normal human beings couldn’t dream of getting to. That’s just the type of player he is and it’s a pleasure to watch.
At 27 years old and in just his third year in the NBA, it’s hard to gauge what the ceiling for Johnson can be as a professional basketball player. There’s a chance that he could always be the guy coming off the bench and wowing the crowd. However, when you watch the kinds of plays that he makes, the possibility of him developing his all-around game and morphing into a super athletic post-player is certainly enticing. If the Timberwolves are smart, that’s what they’ll try to do with Johnson. As the old saying goes, there’s no harm in trying.