Hometown: Corsicana, Texas
Birthday: July 11, 1987
Experience: 2 years
Draft: 2010, fourth overall by Minnesota
2012-13 Salary: $4,285,560
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Season Outlook: Wesley Johnson has not played anywhere near the level that’s expected of a No. 4 overall pick. In two years, he went from a guy with limitless potential to a guy who was essentially traded as an offseason salary dump.
Under Alvin Gentry, he gets a much-needed opportunity to resurrect his career, or better yet prove he even is worthy of having a career in the NBA. It’ll have to be earned though, as Johnson is expected to back up Michael Beasley at small forward and also provide the Suns with versatility at shooting guard if need be.
Although he is only a career 34 percent shooter from three-point range, if Johnson is going right he can be a big asset off the bench a la Jared Dudley during the 2009-10 season. But if Johnson really wants to earn more than 10-15 minutes a night, he needs to make an impact outside of hitting the occasional jump shot. Grab a rebound, force a big turnover, make an assist to a cutting teammate. The kind of things that made him the Big East Player of the Year for 2009-10 season.
Otherwise P.J. Tucker will be happy to scoop up the extra minutes. – Dave Dulberg
Biography: Wesley Johnson is originally from the great state of Texas. He played his high school ball for Corsicana High and averaged 15.2 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 4.3 blocks during his senior season. He stayed in the Midwest for college, accepting a scholarship to Iowa State.
Johnson started 30 games his freshman year. He averaged 12.3 points and 7.9 rebounds and earned a spot on the Big 12 All-Freshman team. The Cyclones, however, missed out on the NCAA Tournament. He continued his strong play the following year, but the Cyclones had another disappointing season before Johnson transferred to Syracuse and sat out the 2008-09 season.
Under coach Jim Boeheim, Johnson blossomed into one of the best players in the country. He raised his stats to 16.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. He won Big East Player of the Year and was named a First Team All-American. While some speculated he was leaving college too early after just a single season as an elite college player, Wesley declared for the 2010 NBA draft instead of returning to Syracuse for his senior year. The Minnesota Timberwolves vindicated that decision by selecting Johnson with the fourth overall pick.
While Johnson has started most of Minnesota’s games over the last two seasons, the general impression of his play thus far has been disappointment. After averaging double figures in all three of his college seasons, Johnson has posted averages of 9.0 and 6.0 points per game the past two years. His production on the boards has been lackluster as well, having never averaged more than 3.0 per game. The Timberwolves traded Johnson to Phoenix on July 27, 2012, as part of multi-player three-team trade that sent Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick to New Orleans.
Links to ValleyoftheSuns coverage of Johnson: