Since the unappealing outcome of the 2010 NBA Draft Lottery that saw the favored New Jersey Nets drop down to third overall pick instead of first, NAS has discussed the positives/negatives of DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors at considerable length. Both youngsters declared for the Association after their freshman seasons at Kentucky and Georgia Tech, respectively, and are blessed with huge upside from the four and/or five positions.
The Nets have a definite need at the power forward spot and either of the aforementioned would be a welcome addition to the lineup. However, they do come with some issues. For Cousins, many question his mental make-up, as well as his desire and discipline to succeed at the NBA level. In regards to Favors, how long will it take for him to reach his potential, if ever, and can he evolve into more than just an athletic four?
So, with that said, there is another part of the game the Nets need to bolster, and that’s outside shooting. Coincidentally, there is a corresponding “safer” choice for the Nets as well. Welcome Syracuse forward Wesley Johnson into the “Who do the Nets take third overall?” debate.
Johnson is a player that basically came out of nowhere as he was not highly-recruited out of high school at all, unlike Cousins and Favors, and transferred from Iowa State to Syracuse only last season. Johnson is already 22-years-old, so there may not be much upside left, certainly not as much as with DMC or Favors. However, his age, the fact that he wasn’t highly-touted since high school, and experience can work in Johnson’s favor.
By all accounts Johnson is a mature and humble player that is always ready to work on his game. Thanks to his age and three seasons of playing college ball, Johnson has more experience and should have a better shot to adapt to the NBA rigors. Also, he has more polish and refinement in his game, which is shooting from all over the court, playing defense, utilizing his athleticism, and ubiquitous intangibles.
Johnson would be able to start right away for the Nets (as well as for most NBA teams) at either wing position and provide the outside game the Nets are in need of. Plus, he plays very solid defense, another welcome trait for the team. The bonus is that Johnson has been working on his moves in attacking the basket and creating his own shot. I wouldn’t be surprised that when Johnson works out for the Nets, he absolutely wows them and we have to legitimately and honestly consider Johnson a strong candidate for the third overall pick.