Archive for the 'Wesley Johnson' Category

Wesley Johnson: 2014 Exit Interview

IMG_0554Wesley Johnson appeared in 79 games (62 starts) towards averages of 9.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks. Johnson was one of two players (including Paul Millsap) in the league to average at least 1.0 three-pointer made, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks per game this season.

- On his message from Mitch Kupchak and Mike D’Antoni in his exit meeting:
“Continue to work and be aggressive and to stay confident in my shot. Defensively, you can be a really good defender. You just need to apply to your game.”

- On what he saw personally from the team this season:
“You hate to see all the people injured, but it sucked we didn’t see that chemistry dealing with all the stuff we had to deal with, but it worked out for me showing what I could do as a player.” Johnson also noted it was a “dream come true” play in L.A.

- On playing for Mike D’Antoni:
“I think being here, I felt freedom. It was a sigh of relief to just go out and play. Coach Mike D’Antoni tells you what he expects. He said just go out and play hard.”

- On playing and being around Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant:
“It still was fun. I can speak on my behalf and cool to pick their brains, especially (Steve) Nash to see how he worked to get back from his injury. Kobe (Bryant) was helping me with how he guarded certain people.” He noted Bryant is a “maniac” in terms of game preparation.

Lakers Open Practice in Beijing

practice1Lakers practice on Sunday morning had all of the usual components: dissection of the offense; drills on defense; shooting work; and on the bright side for the team, participation from Steve Nash (ankle), Wesley Johnson (strained foot), Jordan Farmar (strained calf) and Ryan Kelly (foot).

And, oh yeah, the team is in Beijing, China.

“It’s really exciting to be here,” said Farmar. “I was actually here with the Nets once before, but it’s great to have this much time to spend with teammates, and have a cultural experience from some huge basketball fans.”

nash1Farmar strained his left calf in L.A.’s first preseason game last Saturday, and has yet to return to game action, but said he’s feeling better by the day and hopes to return to game action soon. The team’s next game is on Tuesday, against Golden State in Beijing, and he’s calling himself a question mark at this time.

Kelly is also a question mark for that game, but the second round pick out of Duke continues to ramp up his work in practice and participated in all of Sunday’s session.

Johnson left the team’s second preseason game (Sunday vs. Denver) in the first half and has yet to return to action, but did practice fully for the first time, and hopes to play on Tuesday. Likewise, Nash thinks he’ll play against Golden State. His ankle continues to be bothersome, but he practiced in full before icing down (pictured) after the fact.

As such, everybody on the roster but Kobe Bryant (Achilles) practiced. Though in fairness, Bryant’s handling of his incredible celebrity in China appears* to be pretty hard work in its own right.
*Check for videos throughout the week.

After practice, the players and team staff boarded some buses destined for the Great Wall of China, the first of many cultural experiences of the week in the Far East.