The Los Angeles Lakers have many tough decisions this offseason as they decide what direction they want to go in the future. Wesley Johnson had an up and down season from highlight-reel dunks to sitting on the bench. His inconsistencies will likely lead to him not receiving much of a pay raise. As a result, the Lakers should try to convince him to come back for another short-term, inexpensive deal.
Johnson improved his shooting from the perimeter and looked comfortable spotting up from the 3-point line. He does not possess a very effective one-on-one game, but can move well off of the ball. He is a good finisher despite his thin frame, and should continue to get better on the offensive side of the ball.
Defensively, Johnson is very active, and averaged more than a block and a steal per game. He is able to provide help off of the ball and can cover the mistakes of his teammates. He has the rare ability to track down players headed toward the rim, and his wingspan gives him an added advantage. He still needs to get better defensively on the ball, but has all the right tools to become a very good defender in the league.
The biggest reason why the Lakers should bring back Johnson is his athleticism. With older players such as Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, the Lakers will need as much as speed as they can get. Johnson is one of the most athletic players in the NBA, and is still getting better. He can excite the crowd with his high-flying dunks and blocked shots.
No one can teach the physical tools that Johnson has, and with so many great wing players in the league, it is important to have the athletes to match them.
Johnson still needs to become a more consistent player to be effective for the Lakers next season. There were times when he was playing out of position, but he needed to use his unique gifts to his advantage. He can mesh well with the veterans on the team and give them a more athletic option. The Lakers should look to re-sign Johnson in the offseason and give him the opportunity to improve.