Wesley Johnson Finally Showing Why He Should Be Part of Lakers’ Uncertain Future

Don’t look now, but the much-maligned Wesley Johnson is making a case for his future existence with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Before straining his hip flexor during a win over the Indiana Pacers Sunday night, evidence was mounting to suggest Johnson’s production and consistency have improved measurably over this still-young season.

Exhibit A is the month of December, in which the 27-year-old small forward not only averaged 11 points per game, but scored in double figures 11 times in 15 appearances.

That compares favorably to the previous month, in which his Jekyll and Hyde act was punctuated by an infuriating series of dips and spikes that resulted in only five instances of double-digit aggregation in 14 games.

Johnson’s shooting from beyond the arc also increased sharply in efficiency in December, with his points increase coming with fewer minutes.

Has Johnson done enough to erase his reputation as a draft lottery bust? That’s highly doubtful. Can he be the type of elite swingman that a team can build around? Probably not.

But he can still progress past his current status as a minimum-salary reclamation project and earn a future role with more permanence than his two recent one-year test auditions.

Unrealistically high expectations have undermined Johnson’s confidence ever since he was selected as the fourth overall draft pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2010 NBA draft.

“He can be really hard on himself sometimes,” explained Kobe Bryant, per Serena Winters for Lakers Nation in October. “And he winds up being his own worst enemy.”

Johnson shares the same agent with Bryant and was introduced to the superstar during a predraft workout for the Lakers. The two worked out together that summer, and the student/mentor relationship has lasted ever since.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers