Tag: Wes Johnson

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers

Chris Paul on DeAndre Jordan: “He’s like my big little brother. We talk a lot more than people realize”


By the time the Clippers get to training camp, they are going to be spinning how they all sat around before games last season and sang “Kumbayah.” Problems? What problems.

Chris Paul and a number of other Clippers were at the NBA Players’ Awards — the new awards voted on by the players, broadcast on BET Tuesday at 8 p.m. — and before the ceremony he was asked about the wild off-season with the Clippers and the reported issues he had with DeAndre Jordan.

He did everything but sing Kumbayah. From a video posted by Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

“DeAndre, he’s like my big little brother. We talk a lot more than people realize. It doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is we brought in Paul (Pierce), who I’m probably the happiest about because of his championship pedigree, being that voice in our locker room. We brought in Lance (Stephenson), Wes Johnson, brought Austin (Rivers) back, Josh Smith. Big summer for us.”

It was no doubt a big summer for the Clippers and GM Doc Rivers, who made his job as coach a lot easier by adding real depth to the roster.

Paul Pierce was there too and talked about clearing the air for the Clippers at Jordan’s house in Houston.

“I wasn’t there last year with that team, so I kind of sat in and voiced what I thought but I was on the outside looking in,” Pierce said. “I think guys cleared the air if there was any tension, but I think a lot of the media made it more than it was.”

Pierce is coming home to Los Angeles to finish his career, and he answered that question for one of the first of roughly 12 million times he will be asked about it this season.

“It’s a dream come true to be able to come home, finally,” Pierce said. “I grew up a Laker fan but playing on all the Boston Celtic teams . . . there’s no way I could go there — so this was the next best choice. And it’s always been a dream to play in front of my family and friends.”


Report: Clippers interested in Lakers’ Wesley Johnson

Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers

Doc Rivers must upgrade the Clippers’ bench.

Where might he look?

Across the hall.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

The Clippers have interest in Lakers swingman Wes Johnson, according to sources.

Wesley Johnson is exactly the type of player the Clippers should pursue. They have a strong core in Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and – they hope – DeAndre Jordan. They need more solid role players, and Johnson fits the bill.

He’s a 3-and-D combo forward – solid at both skills, though spectacular at neither.  The Clippers need more help at small forward, but a stretch four would give them helpful versatility.

Johnson had a solid season for the Lakers in 2013-14, and that earned him just a minimum contract. He produced at a similar level this season, though proving his consistency could increase his value.

If the Clippers can get him at the minimum, they should do it. If Johnson costs more, they should evaluate other free-agent options. They’ll be over the cap and without the bi-annual exception (given last year to Jordan Farmar). Johnson would help, but not so much that the Clippers should necessarily use a portion of their mid-level exception on him.

Lakers top 10 plays of the 2013-14 season (VIDEO)

New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers suffered through one of their worst seasons in franchise history last year, thanks primarily to the amount of injuries that were sustained by key players, which included Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant.

There were some highlights and fun moments anyway, and the video clip above that the NBA put together attempted to find the bright spots in what was an utterly dismal campaign.

But all this compilation does is showcase just how awful last year really was in Los Angeles.

The Lakers are a franchise that trades on its star power and historically perennial ability to compete for championships. No disrespect to the guys on last year’s roster, but seeing Xavier Henry, Wes Johnson, Ryan Kelly and Jodie Meeks take up the majority of this mix just hammers home how far the team has fallen.

After Lakers’ 48-point loss, Laker GM Kupchak, owner Buss met with coach D’Antoni

Los Angeles Lakers v Portland Trail Blazers

The Lakers have lost a lot of games this season (42 to be exact), but the historic 48-point blowout loss to the Clippers Thursday night on national television hit the fan base hard. Many of these fans rooting for them to lose and get a better draft pick were embarrassed at the lack of defensive effort and the ugly loss.

They were not the only ones.

Apparently Lakers co-owner Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak were as well, and those two sat down separately with coach Mike D’Antoni after the game, reports Ramona Shelburne and Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Shortly after a 48-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak met separately with embattled coach Mike D’Antoni and vice president of player personnel Jim Buss to discuss the state of the team, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

While Lakers management plans to continue to assess the situation, in the short term it is inclined to see how the team responds to the worst loss in franchise history, rather than make an in-season coaching change, sources said.

D’Antoni confirmed the meeting with Kupchak, characterizing it as “normal” before the Lakers played the Denver Nuggets on Friday.

Normal? Riiiiiight. Just another normal night when the GM and owner drop in to see how you’re doing after a franchise worst loss. Happens all the time.

Mike D’Antoni certainly deserves some blame for this Lakers season, the lack of focus on defense for one thing, but not all the blame is on him — he was never given enough talent to win much. A lot of the talent he did have — including Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash — was lost to injury.

Look at it this way: The Lakers’ starting five Friday night in Denver was Kendall Marshall, Kent Bazemore, Jodie Meeks, Wes Johnson and Pau Gasol. Off the bench there was Xavier Henry, Ryan Kelly, Jordan Farmar and Robert Sacre. I don’t care if you had Phil Jackson coach this team, if you resurrected John Wooden to help him, that roster is not winning games. What’s more is as the names have shifted around and the Lakers have had to dig deeper into the talent pool the concept of team has gone out the window with the group, they don’t play within any system.

D’Antoni’s job appears safe for the rest of the season (what is the point of changing coaches now?). Long term, he is not the man, he is not the answer. He probably isn’t the man next season because Kobe Bryant — at his age with his post-up focused style of game now — is not going to be able to play in the D’Antoni run-and-gun system.

For the next couple years as they try to rebuild the roster the Lakers will be selling fans Kobe — that is why they paid him big bucks to stay. Look for them to get a coach this summer whose system can showcase Bryant better.

But that coach isn’t going to win much next season either if that roster looks like this one.

Another non-update update: Kobe says he is at “challenging,” “tedious” part of rehab

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors

Let’s answer the big question first: No, there still is no timetable.

Nobody knows when Kobe Bryant will be back on the court with the 3-3 Los Angeles Lakers. That includes Kobe Bryant.

He traveled with the Lakers to Houston and no matter what he said you know he, Pau Gasol and Mike D’Antoni savored getting a big win over the Rockets on the road. Even if it was the bench guys (Jodie Meeks, Wes Johnson and company) that earned that win.

Kobe spoke to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com about the rehab process.

Bryant isn’t back in any meaningful way yet, still pushing his surgically repaired Achilles’ tendon through what he described as “the most challenging, the most tedious part” of his rehab….

“Honestly, I couldn’t tell you,” he said. “I don’t want to say something and then misjudge it. It’s tough to measure.”

So how will he know?

“Once I get out there and start moving side-to-side and start doing more change-of-direction things,” he said. “… The biggest thing with the Achilles is you have to be able to maintain your stability. So what happens when the muscle fatigues, it can’t maintain that. So a lot of people with Achilles injuries lose their explosiveness. They try to make a move and now that’s giving on them and they can’t maintain that. So you lose that pop. And that last bit is where you really fight to make sure the muscle is strong enough to be able to maintain that.”

No comment here as there is nothing really to say. Kobe will be back when he is back.

Then things get interesting to see how he reintegrates with a team that is moving the ball well, playing in the D’Antoni system and making it work.