Sixers' Draft Profiles: Wesley Johnson

#1 John Wall

#2 Evan Turner

#3 Derrick Favors

#4 DeMarcus Cousins

Here's Wesley Johnson ...

Scouting Reports

DX: 

What position will he play?

Johnson fits the mold of your prototypical NBA small forward from a physical standpoint, and then some. His excellent size, length and athleticism give him a terrific base from which to build off of, and he's really rounded out his skill-set now as well.

Can he be "The Stretcher" I wrote about in my 'needs' post?

The biggest development that must be discussed is the improvement Johnson has made as a perimeter shooter. A career 31.6% 3-point shooter going into this season, Johnson has made 25 of his 55 attempts from beyond the arc thus far, good for 46%. While the number of attempts he's averaging (just over 3) per game leaves something to be desired as far as the sample size is concerned, the smooth mechanics, deep range, quick release and terrific separation he creates elevating away from his defender should ease most of the concerns teams might have. As we discussed in the past, Johnson's issues mostly stemmed from poor shot-selection, and since that problem has completely evaporated, his percentages have sky-rocketed accordingly.

Will his offense be limited to three-pointers on the next level?

He has great quickness making his way into the lane, and appears to have worked extremely hard on polishing up some very impressive spin moves.

Developing his post game would probably be the next step, as he's not always able to take advantage of his superior physical tools against weak defenders. He currently lacks much in the ways of footwork and doesn't appear to be the toughest guy around.

Still not what you would call a great shot-creator, Johnson continues to struggle to get to the free throw line at a high rate. His ball-handling skills are average at best, as his left hand is weak, he has a difficult time changing directions with the ball in tight spaces, and he's not very effective if he's unable to beat his matchup with his pure first step.

If you're looking for a superstar, Johnson probably isn't it ...

... there are legitimate concerns about whether he can be the type of player that can take over (or finish off) an NBA game as a one on one scorer, particularly when being matched up with similarly sized NBA small forwards.

... but he'll be an excellent role player.

[He's] extremely unselfish and seemingly an outstanding teammate (on and off the court reportedly), the ball rarely gets stuck in his hands for more than a few seconds. He's a terror in transition and a force on the offensive glass, averaging over 10 rebounds per-40 minutes pace adjusted.

He projects to be a solid, versatile NBA defender.

Defensively, we run into the same issue we always do with Syracuse players-his team plays zone pretty much exclusively. Considering Johnson's phenomenal physical tools, though-size, length, athleticism, and his high activity level, it's not difficult to project him as a versatile and very effective defender at the NBA level. He already contributes nearly two steals and two blocks per game, and is able to switch seamlessly onto a variety of different styles of opponents without much of an issue.

Said to have limited potential ...

Considering that he turns 23 this July, his upside may not be deemed quite as high as other combo forwards in this draft, such as Al-Farouq Aminu for example, who is three years younger than him.

Chad Ford:

Oh no! He lacks killer instinct!

He lacks a killer instinct and can be too unselfish at times. He looks as though he might be more comfortable as the No. 2 guy on a team.

Is Wes lock for the top 5?

While scouts would like to see him get stronger and be more assertive, every GM we spoke to has him ranked in the top five. That's pretty amazing for a guy who came into the season not ranked in the top 25 on any team's board.

Wesley Johnson on Twitter

@w_johnson

Comparisons

DX: Best case - Shawn Marion

Worst case - Travis Outlaw

Chad Ford: Joe Johnson

NBADraft.net - Eddie Johnson/Shawn Marion

YouTube

Ultimate Wes Johnson Mix

Get to know Wes Johnson

Nasty Wes-Jo dunk

My take:

I'm a big fan of Wesley Johnson, and I think the Shawn Marion comparison fits well. There's no doubt in my mind that Wes will be a solid NBA player, and contribute right away. Not to mention, he's a perfect fit for the Sixers because of his length, athleticism, and defense. Plus he'd add much-needed three-point shooting to the team without sacrificing defense or rebounding. The question then becomes, is he worth using a top 6-7 pick on, especially for a re-building franchise. Guys like Aminu, Davis, Orton and Whiteside are thought to have much higher upside than Johnson, but they also have a higher bust-ability. So, do you go with the guy with limited upside and limited bust-ability, or take a chance on a guy with "Ridiculous Upside" and high bust-ability? It's a question I'm not ready to answer yet. What do you guys think?

Up next: Al-Farouq Aminu

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