Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
If you've watched any of the Timberwolves' 21 games this season--you know Wesley Johnson has struggled. However, to say he's struggling is an understatement. Anytime he touches or shoots the ball the majority of the time you can basically chalk it up as a turnover!
It seems Wes was more comfortable in Rambis' triangle offense last season--than Rick Adelman's free flowing offense relying on pick-and-rolls and taking what the defense gives you. That leaves you scratching your head--as practically every other player from last season is either playing the same if not better under a much simpler system from Adelman.
Wes' confidence seems to be as low as humanly possible out on the basketball court. He's a young player--it's understandable, but the problem is the Wolves feel they have no other options. I think with the return of Martell Webster would could see Minnesota make some adjustments. I'm advocating a stint in the D-League for Mr. Johnson. The only reason I believe it hasn't happened already is the lack of wings on the roster, but as guys like Beasley & Webster get healthier and continue to play better than Wes--it would seem--only a matter of time before Johnson's either in the D-League or the bench. Which I think would be the best possible scenario for the young swingman. A chance in the D-League where he could go and play--work on his shot and get some of his confidence back.
Let's compare stats for Wes from last season and thus far this season...
When you look at those games played last season. You notice Wes played all but three of the Wolves' games. He began 2010-11 as the team's starting shooting guard. However, after 30-45 games the Wolves decided to go with Corey Brewer in the starting lineup--as he injected a lot more energy into the starting five. Brewer was a spark plug on both ends that was very beneficial for Minnesota. Then, of course Brewer was traded to New York Knicks to get Anthony Randolph (Brewer was later waived and picked up by Dallas--won a championship--and was traded this offseason to the Wolves' division-rivals: Denver Nuggets). With Brewer gone--Wes was put back into the starting lineup. Then this season--because there's really no competition for the starting two-guard spot--he's just handed the starting job--not earning it OR validating it with his play! And that's my point--he has no competition for that starting spot! Last season when he was moved to the bench in favor of Brewer--he stepped up and proved he was worthy of being a starter. This year--I have yet to see that fight I did during those games when Brewer took the starting job.
He's averaging about four less minutes a game and apparently in those four more minutes last year he was able to score four more points and shoot better in every shooting category! 24% from deep is just awful and it's not like he's not taking a lot of shots. 55 three-point attempts and he's only made 13 this season!
Beyond that all the other stats weren't impressive last season and remain that way--low averages in rebounds, assists, blocks & steals! You'd think those intangibles might be what's keeping him as a starter (his ability to do the little things) clearly--you can see THAT'S NOT THE CASE!
His defense isn't even impressive. Nothing he's done this season--beyond a few highlight-reel dunks, has impressed anyone. If nothing changes the next few games--I could see Wes (who's starting at small forward right now) moved to the bench in favor of either Michael Beasley or Martell Webster.
I pray the Wolves make a change soon. I'd attribute at least a part of the Timberwolves' problems to start games 'quickly' (often times getting down by double-digits in the first half) to Wes. I'm not saying he's the entire problem with the starting five--but he's a big chunk of the blame. The other "chunk"? Darko Milicic. However, Pekovic is proving he deserves that starting spot in favor of Darko, game-by-game.
That's all for now, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
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