Apr 13, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Phoenix Suns small forward Wesley Johnson (2) celebrates a three-point basket with Suns power forward Markieff Morris (not pictured) during the fourth quarter at the Target Center. Timberwolves won 105-93. Mandatory Credit: Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers Sign Former Top 5 Draft Pick Wesley Johnson

The Los Angeles Lakers continue their uncharacteristic assault on thriftiness this NBA offseason with another minimum contract signing. The Lakers signed former 4th overall draft pick out of Syracuse University Wesley Johnson to the veteran’s minimum.

After successfully ridding themselves of the perpetually unhappy and underperforming Dwight Howard, the Lakers strategy this NBA offseason changed decidedly. They have made minimum, 1 year signings and Wes Johnson is another one that fits the bill.

The Lakers still have to pick up the check for Johnson and his newly signed cohorts, but instead of dining at the Pacific Dining Car, the Lakers took a trip to In N Out.

Wesley Johnson is a versatile option at small forward, which is why he was such a high pick out of Syracuse. He was a late bloomer when he transferred to Syracuse, but his tall, long frame made him an NBA ready body to insert in a lineup. But Johnson’s inability to shoot from long range with any consistency left him on the outside looking in on an injured Minnesota Timberwolves team, and Phoenix Suns team most recently.

Johnson joins Jordan Farmar and Nick Young making NBA veteran minimum wage, Duke graduate Ryan Kelly making NBA 2nd round draft pick minimum wage, and Chris Kaman making the NBA veteran mid-level exception at $3.2 million. Separately none of them are exciting NBA signings, but together they have very different skill sets which they can bring to an aging, possibly disastrous, Lakers roster.

Wesley Johnson was worthy of a top 5 NBA draft. Being a top pick has kept underachieving players like Darco Milicic and Kwame Brown in the NBA for years. But if Wesley Johnson can get back to the player at Syracuse that was drafted 4th overall, this will be an above average rental.

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers NBA Free Agency Wesley Johnson

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