Wesley Johnson (Syracuse)
6'7, 205 lbs, SF
A wiry, athletic jack-of-all trades, Johnson came out of nowhere from a transfer to Syracuse to the best player on a highly ranked team. He helps a team win in so many ways as an ultimate glue guy.
Johnson curls off screens, flashes to the mid-post, uses the dribble or jab-steps to set up his mid-range game. When not shooting mid-range jumpers, he uses his athletic ability and quick leaping to get points down low and crashes the offensive glass to get boards. Johnson also shot well from the three point line at nearly 42%.
However, despite his strengths, a team can't run it's offense through him. His ball-handling is limited to one or two dribbles either way and pull-up jumper. Johnson needs to improve his ball handling by adding hesitation dribbles and other more advanced dribble moves on the next level. While not a bad passer, he needs to improve on his passing in traffic.
On defense, Johnson played in the famous Syracuse zone and spent a lot of time crashing the glass with his athleticism and length. Even though there is very little zone in the NBA, Johnson has the physical tools to become an excellent man defender at small forward. He has great quickness, speed, and leaping ability as well as good instincts to play the passing lanes, block shots, and gather rebounds.
How does his game translate to the NBA?
Overall, Johnson has several great skills that will allow him to become a good third scoring option for any team as long as he is not the primary offensive creator. He lacks creation ability as a ball-handler with either hand. However, he shoots well from mid-range and showed the potential to become an outside threat as well. Johnson plays with high basketball IQ using excellent shot selection and rarely forcing shots.
Right now, Johnson reminds me of a prime Shawn Marion, Gerald Wallace, or Josh Howard. He would be an ideal threat for any team, and I could envision him making a few All-Star teams if utilized properly. To me, Johnson deserves to be picked between ranges 4-6 in the draft as several others have the ability to be a little more of a dominant figure than Johnson in the NBA, but lack the skill, unselfishness, and ability to play on both sides of the floor. Ideally, Johnson would benefit playing for a past face team with playmakers such as the Warriors, Jazz, Clippers, etc..