After the all-star break, Phoenix Suns interim head coach Lindsey Hunter decided to give Wesley Johnson, Shannon Brown’s minutes in the Suns rotation. Since the all-star break, Wesley Johnson is averaging over 22 minutes per game compared to 7.4 minutes per game prior to it.
Johnson is shooting 44% from the field, 42% from three-point land and is averaging 8.7 points along with 4.4 rebounds since being given Brown’s spot in the rotation; Johnson also hit the three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime in the win against the Spurs.
(Johnson’s shot chart since all-star break)
Offensively, Johnson’s shooting prowess has been of a tremendous value to the Suns second-unit. Since the all-star break, Johnson’s shooting numbers are better than that of Michael Beasley’s, who’s also been seeing less minutes as of late due to the rise of Wesley Johnson.
Johnson has proven to be an upgrade on both ends of floor. Johnson combination of size, length and athleticism makes him an effective rebounder as well as a solid perimeter defender.
“More impressed on the defensive end. Didn’t know he could defend like that.” Said Hunter in regards to Wesley Johnson. “He worked hard when he wasn’t playing to stay ready, which is what you have to do as a professional,” It’s also him getting an opportunity and taking advantage of it. It’s really good to see because for so many years he’s been talked about as an afterthought. (He’s) actually making big plays on both ends of the floor and looking like the lottery pick he was.”
It’s imminent at this point that Johnson will not live up to being the fourth overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft, but most people understood that to be the case before the Suns acquired him from Minnesota this past summer in the three-team deal that sent Robin Lopez to the New Orleans Hornets.
Johnson who’s in his third year in the NBA will not only be turning 26-years old this coming July, but he will also be hitting the market as an unrestricted free-agent as the Suns declined to pick up his option earlier this season.
Johnson is set to make roughly $4.3 million dollars this season which is likely more than what he’ll command on the open market this summer depending on how well he performs for the remainder of the season.
The Suns still have Shannon Brown signed through the 2013-2014 season which will certainly influence the return of Johnson next season, however the circumstances could change if the Suns elect to trade Brown or even possibly Jared Dudley over the course of the summer. Johnson has expressed in the past that he was “Comfortable” Here in Phoenix, and if Johnson continues to impress for the remainder of the season, the Suns may very well open up their checkbook to him this summer.